Phil Simmons new West Indies coach

Cricket with Dalchand Bissoon 

Phil Simmons – leaving Ireland behind.
Phil Simmons – leaving Ireland behind.

Philip Verant ‘Phil’ Simmons, the former Trinidad & Tobago and West Indies allrounder, has been appointed West Indies head coach on a three-year contract.

Simmons, 51, will leave his role as Ireland coach at the end of the World Cup. He has been Ireland head coach for eight years and has helped Ireland to win 11 associate competitions and qualified for every major ICC event since his appointment in April 2007.

Ireland also earned wins over Test nations England and Zimbabwe and most recently defeated the West Indies in their opening World Cup match last month.

Ireland CEO Warren Deutrom said “Everyone will miss Phil Simmons. His warmth and strength of values endeared him to everyone here.”

Ireland Captain William Porterfield said Simmons was a “towering presence not just in Irish cricket but across the world.”

WICB Chief Executive Michael Muirhead said “Phil has impressed us with his understanding of the current realities of West Indies cricket and has his proven ability to develop players while cultivating great team spirit.”

Simmons said “I’ll always be eternally grateful for the opportunity given to me by Cricket Ireland. It was a very difficult decision to leave but I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to coach my home team.”

Former West Indies batsman Stuart Williams has been in temporary charge of the West Indies team after the WICB parted with Barbados’ Ottis Gibson in August 2014.

Simmons played in 26 Tests for the West Indies since his debut against India at Chennai in January 1988, scoring 1,002 runs with one century and has taken four wickets. He also appeared in 143 ODIs since his debut against Pakistan at Lahore in October 1987, scoring 3,675 runs with five centuries and has taken 83 wickets.

He last played for the West Indies in Test in 1997 against Pakistan and in ODI in 1999 against Australia.

Simmons’ first task as coach will be the West Indies home series against England in their three-match series which starts April 13 in Antigua.