ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Former West Indies batsman Phil Simmons has been named head coach of the West Indies men’s senior team on a four-year contract.
The 56-year-old beat out Test legend Desmond Haynes and incumbent Floyd Reifer who were short-listed for the post left vacant since Australian Stuart Law departed hastily last November.
Simmons led West Indies for 18 months before being dramatically sacked in September 2016 just five months after overseeing the Caribbean side’s capture of the Twenty20 World Cup in India. The then CWI administration labelled the move as “differences in culture and strategic approach”.
The Trinidadian, who has also coached Zimbabwe, Ireland and more recently, Afghanistan, was also always considered the front-runner for the position and CWI president Ricky Skerritt said the governing body was confident it had “chosen the right man for the job at the right time”.
“Bringing Phil Simmons back is not just righting a past wrong, but I am confident that CWI has chosen the right man for the job at the right time,” said Skerritt, who replaced three-term incumbent Dave Cameron in CWI elections last March.
“I want to also thank the very talented Floyd Reifer for the hard work he put in while he was the interim coach.”
Simmons, who played 26 Tests and 143 One-Day Internationals, made his name with Ireland with whom he spent eight years, during that time capturing 11 trophies and qualifying for every ICC tournament.
Following his Windies stint, he took over Afghanistan in December 2017, guiding them to their capture of the World Cup qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe, which saw them make their debut at the ICC World Cup in England earlier this year.
After stepping down following the tournament, he joined Barbados Tridents in the Caribbean Premier League and only last weekend saw them to their second title.
Simmons will take over the helm of a West Indies side which has continued to slump in all formats. They lie eighth in Tests only above the likes of Bangladesh and Afghanistan and are ninth in ODIs following their worst-ever showing at a World Cup last July in England under interim choice Reifer.
In the T20 format where the Windies are reigning champions, they also lie a disappointing ninth following a spate of poor results.
Simmons will also serve as one of three selectors, with former West Indies off-spinner and head coach, Roger Harper, along with Miles Bascombe – who played a single T20 International eight years ago – announced as the new men’s selection panel.