PORT OF SPAIN –– West Indies coach Phil Simmons says he is in a much clearer position over the status of high profile players Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Lendl Simmons and Andre Russell, regarding their availability to play Test cricket and other formats for the regional side.
Simmons recently gave an update on these players to the media in his homeland. Bravo and Lendl Simmons have already indicated that they have retired from Test cricket while Russell has stated he can’t play the longer format because of a persistent knee problem.
“I have had good discussions speaking with all the players. Yes, Bravo and Lendl said they don’t want to play Tests for reasons you mentioned, but I’m happy that they were honest about that,” said Simmons.
“My position is if you don’t want to play Test cricket for whatever reasons, we won’t select you. But if players openly state they are available for that format, I don’t really want them changing their minds when we select them [if there is a clash with a West Indies series].
“Speaking with Narine during the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), he still wants to be 100 percent confident about the consistency of his action before returning to Test cricket. He noted he is happy with the improvement [of] his action during CPL and is available for West Indies in the limited overs section at present.”
Narine, with just six Tests under his belt, last wore white clothing for the West Indies two years ago versus New Zealand.
Referring to Russell Simmons said: “Russell has a longstanding knee problem which certainly limits his ability to play the longest format. No one has found a perfect solution for it, but he is trying to get it sorted and he did not give [the] impression that he is against playing longer format.”
Simmons was asked if he believed that Barbadian all-rounder and ODI captain Jason Holder could fulfill the role of Test all-rounder based on his recent batting exploits.
“Jason is certainly pushing to be that potential all-rounder in Tests based on his hundred and 80-plus scores in recent home Tests to go along with his wickets.
“However I’m not sure about him moving from number eight up to number six or seven in the batting order as yet. We will have to wait and see if that is an option when [the] team goes to Sri Lanka,” Simmons said.
Simmons also spoke on Gayle and Pollard’s availability.
“Pollard wants to play cricket for the West Indies –– that he made clear to me, but we haven’t gone into whether it’s Test specific. Gayle noted once he recovers well from his back surgery he is also available for all formats,” Simmons said.
The West Indies coach also gave his impressions on the 2015 Caribbean Premier League.
“The tournament is good, but not enough of young West Indian players came to the fore. Just the established stars and the overseas players and as coach I would have liked to see more from the young players. I hope that improves in next year’s competition,” he said.