Sun | Oct 2, 2022

‘It hurts!’

West Indies coach bemoans lack of commitment from some players

Published:Wednesday | August 10, 2022 | 12:10 AMLennox Aldred/Gleaner Writer
West Indies head coach Phil Simmons kicks a water bottle as he wraps up the team’s final training session at Sabina Park yesterday.
West Indies head coach Phil Simmons kicks a water bottle as he wraps up the team’s final training session at Sabina Park yesterday.
Andre Russell
Andre Russell
Fabian Allen
Fabian Allen
Evin Lewis
Evin Lewis
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THE WEST Indies and New Zealand will begin a three-match T20 series starting with the first match today at Sabina Park at 1:30 p.m.

Like they did against India just last week, and Bangladesh prior, the regional side will enter another series without some of their most notable players, the likes of Andre Russell, Evin Lewis and Fabian Allen.

Having suffered a heavy 4-1 defeat to world number-one India, the new-look West Indies T20 side is still trying to find their best team.

The Nicholas Pooran-led side is expected to find the going tough against a New Zealand unit that is not taking any chances and has picked a full-strength squad by recalling star players in captain Kane Williamson, Trent Boult and Tim Southee.

With the unavailability of some players for varying reasons, coach Simmons faces a conundrum with regard to the selection and make-up of his squad before the T20 World Cup in October, and the Trinidadian made it clear that he is not pleased with the scenario he is faced with.

“It hurts, and there is no other way to put it. I don’t think I should be begging people to play for their country. I think if you want to represent West Indies, you make yourself available. Life has changed in that people have opportunities to go to different places, and if they put that over West Indies, that’s how it is.”

DOOM AND GLOOM

Lead selector Desmond Haynes tried to allay fears that it is not all doom and gloom for the regional side, as he reassured the media that players who are not a part of the current squad can still find their way into the set-up via the Caribbean Premier League, which is set to bowl off later this month.

“I think that performance is very important to us. We did not say that we have picked the World Cup team yet, so all the games that are going to be played leading up to the World Cup, we must consider it.”

While some players have opted to chase the glitz, glamour and wealth of franchise cricket, one player relishing the opportunity of playing for the West Indies on home soil in T20s is batsman Brandon King.

The right-handed Jamaican is in the running to play his first T20 game at Sabina Park in front of his home fans on his Kingston Cricket Club home ground.

For King, the honour of playing at Sabina Park in this 60th year of Jamaica’s Independence is a dream that he eagerly wants to come true.

“It’s great timing and I am very happy to have the opportunity to play at home for the West Indies. This is one of my dreams and it is extra special, as it coincides with our Independence celebrations, so I am excited for that.”

sports@gleanerjm.com