Coach Simmons Protest Too Much Methinks

cricket bat & ballIn business and other spheres of activities, people laud excellent performers and will pay any amount of money to have them on their teams.

However, in the Caribbean it seems that some people would risk jobs and reputations for mediocre performers.

This is tantamount to politicians who applaud announcements before actions.

Is there something in the Caribbean water why people would display and support such schizophrenic behavior?

Today, West Indies cricket is once again shrouded in controversy with the latest surrounding the suspension of Coach Phil Simmons.

Fortunately, this latest saga has nothing to do with a dispute over money which always seem to be the “twelfth man” on the side, but over discipline.

Yes, discipline, it’s not a misprint; seem stranger than fiction, huh?

Now, on the cusp of a West Indies team tour to Sri Lanka, Phil Simmons the coach has been suspended by West Indies Cricket Board management after what may be described as bringing the selection process into disrepute.

Simmons claimed that the one-day team picked for the tour of Sri Lanka was influenced by “outside interference” and complained to the press that he did not get his team.

The bottom-line is he was unable to convince the majority of the other selectors that his two compatriots Messrs Dwayne Bravo and Keiron Pollard were worthy of inclusion in the One-Day team.

The fact is these are two players, whose stats do not suggest beauty, therefore, it is difficult to fathom why the head over heels for both players by the coach.

Sometime ago, Former English professional and International umpire, John Holder made a stinging criticism of both players. He said then: “Dwayne Bravo has played 64 ODIs. He has scored under 3000 runs at an average of 25.36 and taken 199 wickets at just under 30.”

He also added, “About six years ago Bravo played for Kent as their overseas player. I umpired him in a county match at Trent Bridge against Notts and was appalled at how mediocre a player he was. His captain, Rob Key told me that he was also disappointed in his attitude and performance.”

One may argue that at best, the call for these players could only be on the basis of hope or name recognition because of their longevity around the W.I. setup, but certainly not on their record of performance.

Holder further stated, “Kieron Pollard’s record is poor too. In 91 ODIs he has scored 2050 runs at 25. This is shocking for someone who is regarded as a match winner. He is big and strong and is a big hitter if the ball is pitched up. Bowlers have worked him out and bowl short at his body, where he is like a fish out of water. This was clearly demonstrated when he first played for Somerset in the T20 Final when an ageing Dominic Cork bouncer smashed him over the eye and out of the match.”

Without being malicious, one is tempted to say that if these players were not from the same country as the coach perhaps this great pursuit and courtship to have them in West Indies team would not be in play.

The fact is neither of these two players are stars or world beaters in the One-Day format of the game.

Furthermore, it is difficult to see the basis for the inclusion of these two players in the One-Day setup, when both were ignored for the World Cup earlier this year.

The “Chief Selector” said then that the players’ exclusion was on the premise of a new beginning.

Now, what have these players done since then to warrant a call up? Have they had a born again experience?

It really boggles the mind to grasp what gives rise to these moments of madness in West Indies cricket.

That said, both players have been selected for theT20 format of the game which everyone knows is their area of competence.

Hopefully, they will up the ante in their game in Sri Lanka before they jet off to the IPL.

Davy Desmond, Readers Bureau, Fellow

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