A moment of madness!
That’s how suspended West Indies coach Phil Simmons has described his conduct last Friday before the media, when he suggested his fellow cricket selectors had bowed to “interference from outside” in the omission of Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo from the West Indies One-Day International team to Sri Lanka.
At a media conference before the team had been officially announced, Simmons indicated there had been a 3-2 split on whether the two should be selected. He said then he and chief selector Clive Lloyd wanted Bravo and Pollard on the team but that selectors and former West Indies players Courtney Walsh, Eldine Baptiste and Courtney Browne had not voted for them.
His outburst led to his suspension amid charges that he had not only breached confidentiality but had brought the game into disrepute.
Simmons today officially apologised to Lloyd, Brown, Walsh, Baptiste and to the West Indies Cricket Board and described his actions as “a schoolboy error in a moment of madness”.
The 52-year-old Trinidadian expressed his “sincere apologies” for the comments that sent shockwaves through the West Indies cricket fraternity and divided debate on the prudence of his behaviour.
“In no way did I intend to even mention the issues of selection. It was not in any way intentional and so, therefore, I needed to express my deepest regret to you and my fellow selectors,” Simmons wrote in his apology.
Simmons added that his conduct last Friday was “not within my character.”
He added: “I need to apologise as I am genuinely sorry.”
However, despite the apology Simmons is set to face a WICB panel to answer for the outburst, with WICB chief executive Michael Muirhead saying on Tuesday that a decision would be reached within the next seven days.
Muirhead said Simmons would be given “a fair hearing” with the investigation conducted “within the boundaries of our own internal human resources policy”.
“The matter will be dealt with in an expeditious manner and it is our intention to have a decision within the next seven working days,” Muirhead said.
In the media conference last Friday in Barbados, at the end of a week-long training camp for the Test squad, Simmons in expressing his frustration with Bravo and Pollard’s omission, stated: “it was “disappointing for me to know that in any aspect of life … [people would use] their position to get people into a squad or in this case, get people left out of a squad”.
Lloyd, responding to Simmons’ remarks earlier in the week, said cricket officials would agree at times, or have different opinions, but outbursts such as Simmons’ could not be condoned.
Though Simmons’ comments received support in some circles, he came under heavy criticism in others by those who noted that his remarks served to undermine the confidence of the players actually chosen and were suggestive that some of them did not merit being chosen to tour Sri Lanka.
The West Indies ODI squad arrived in Colombo today with Baptiste acting as interim coach pending the outcome of Simmons’ disciplinary hearing.