Phil Simmons has repeated his limited-overs captain Kieron Pollard’s analysis that West Indies “have a batting problem” but stated he is not worried about his job as head coach after a huge upset of 2-1 ODI series defeat at home to underdogs Ireland.
West Indies were bowled out for 269, 229 and 212 in their three ODIs against Ireland at Sabina Park in Jamaica, with Pollard saying their scores in the last two games were “totally unacceptable”, adding that “overall, holistically, I think we have a batting problem”.
In an interaction from Barbados ahead of West Indies’ five-match T20I series against England, which starts on Saturday, Simmons said that his batters were unable to translate their progress in training into results on the pitch, but stressed that pointing fingers at players already in the squad would only end up masking the systemic failings to develop them at a domestic level.
Simmons, who was re-appointed as head coach in October 2019 and supervised West Indies’ failed defence of the T20 World Cup he won with them in 2016, insisted that he was only focused on improving the players under him, not his future in the role.
“It’s there to see: our batting quality is not there,” Simmons said. “Everything comes from lower down: if you’re coming into our squad and you’re averaging 30s when you come to the top level, you’re not going to average 40 or 50. The holistic approach means that all through the ranks, all the way from the Under-19s, we have to be looking at preparing people to play at the international level. Averaging 20s and 30s at the domestic level doesn’t prepare you for the international level.”
Simmons wants his players to change their batting mindset
“If I start worrying about my job then I have problems,” he said. “I am worrying about the success of the team and I am worrying about how we get players to be playing their roles. That’s all I’m concerned about. You’re always under pressure as coaches when the team’s not doing well, in any sport you play, and when the team is doing well, the coaches are forgotten. That’s the nature of the job.
“I enjoy it everyday. My role is seeing the players and working with them, trying to bring out different things in them. To be honest, when we practise, there’s a lot coming out, there’s a lot being shown. It’s just how they adjust and assess the situation when they cross the rope … because that’s where it’s falling down.
“We as a cricketing nation always have players who have the ability to hit the ball over the fence and it’s something I don’t want to take away from my players, but I also want my players to be clinical. In situations where you don’t need to do that, well, we must be able to get ones, to get twos.
“[I want them] to bowl yorkers at the end instead of missing them, and hitting them more consistently than we are right now. There’s a few things that we haven’t been doing properly and we’re working very hard on them. The important thing now is for the youngsters to come in and hone their skills and be able to execute them in the middle, not just in practice.”