Veteran West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo yesterday revealed that the West Indies Cricket Board’s decision to axe “trusted” head coach Phil Simmons on the day of the squad’s departure for Dubai, had left the Caribbean side demoralised for the ongoing limited overs tour against Pakistan. Dubai has been the apparent adopted home venue for Pakistan whose cricket association has largely not been able to convince international teams to come play largely because of security concerns.
In a local radio interview, Bravo, who was a member of the Twenty 20 squad that suffered a humiliating 3-0 whitewash last week, said the players and management team appeared “lost” during the series and the dressing room lacked a positive atmosphere.
He said Simmons in his short time with the squad, had built up a high level of trust with the players, an element that was now missing.
“I’m very passionate about the game so whenever I step on a cricket field I give a hundred per cent,” Bravo said. I’ve been in the team for 12 years and if it is one coach I actually see come there and the players really, really look up to and really enjoyed playing for [was Simmons]. The players had that trust with Simmons and it is no longer there anymore,” the outspoken Bravo continued.
“I was there in Dubai and basically players were lost, the management team looked lost … we were looking like school kids again. The team meetings had no sort of positive input or anything like that. It was like we were just there.”
“But the honest truth is, it is very difficult for a bunch of guys – collectively – 15 guys to switch on and go play in a series when on the day of the team travelling, they find out that their head coach was fired. Which organisation in the world would do things like that?
“[Simmons was] the most successful coach the team had in recent years in his short stint. I’m sure the people of the Caribbean see the positive signs with and within the team.
“We went on, we won the [T20] World Cup … [we played well] in the Tri-Nations against two very powerful ODI teams and yet still, moments before the team flies to Dubai, they fired the coach so it will definitely affect the morale of the team and the players.”\
“For me to come out and talk about these things now is because, one, I’m hurting; two, I’m seeing that our cricket actually has nowhere to go and that’s the honest truth,” Bravo said frankly.
West Indies have looked a shadow of themselves on tour, losing all five limited overs games to date with a series of ordinary performances, and this led to rampant speculation over the level of team morale owing to Simmons’ sudden departure.
The reigning T20 World champions, West Indies looked anything but as they crashed to nine-wicket, 16-run and eight-wicket defeats in the three-match series in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Their shocking effort in the final game in Abu Dhabi when they managed just 103 for five from their 20 overs batting first, was perhaps the clearest sign that was all was not well behind the scenes.
Bravo, who got the only half-century for the tourists during the T20 series, said the team environment had been low-keyed throughout.
Following Bravo’s departure at the end of the T20 series, the West Indies one-day squad enjoyed little change in fortune, losing both opening games in Sharjah to already coe thncede three-match series.
Bravo, who in the past found himself at the centre of a players impasse with the WICB over the abandoned tour of India two years ago, said if there was not a “drastic” intervention soon, West Indies cricket could be seriously damaged.
Simmons’ removal was the second major change in team management in the space of weeks as successful two-time T20 World Cup-winning captain, Darren Sammy, was sacked in August.
The WICB announced just prior to the Pakistan series that it had parted ways with Simmons because of “differences in culture and strategic approach” but did not elaborate.