Veteran all-rounder and former West Indies captain, Dwayne Bravo, has lashed out against the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), following the board’s decision to sack national coach, Phil Simmons, just before the team was getting ready to embark on the tough series against Pakistan.
Simmons was sacked from his post six months after having coached the team to its second World Twenty20 title after what WICB termed as ‘differences in cultural and strategic approach’ that arose from Simmons’s public pronouncements and internal approach.
The senior Bravo was part of the Twenty20 team for the three-match series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which the team lost by a 0-3 scoreline. Back in Trinidad and Tobago, Bravo spoke to a radio station where he vented his frustrations over the way in which the game was being administered in the Caribbean.
The 33-year old all-rounder said the team and the management were ‘left demoralized’ and appeared ‘lost at times’, while the dressing room lacked atmosphere, during various stages of the 0-3 whitewash to Pakistan. “I’m very passionate about the game so whenever I step on a cricket field I give a hundred percent,” Bravo told i95.5 FM in Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
“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 organization in the world would do things like that?”
Having worked extensively with Simmons, Bravo said the former coach had built up a high level of trust with the players as well as the team management, an element which was now missing in the West Indies squad.
“[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.”
West Indies have endured a rough time in UAE so far, losing all their matches. After having lost the three-match Twenty20 series, they have now lost the three-match One Day International (ODI) series as well, after the opening two losses in Sharjah.
The visitors struggled with the bat in the Twenty20s and things haven’t improved in the 50-over format as well, which Bravo said was the outcome of the ‘poor dressing room atmosphere’. “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.”
Bravo added that he was worried about the future prospects of West Indies cricket if the situation doesn’t change for the better. “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.
“If the people of the region don’t really get serious – we saw CARICOM trying to get involved – [but] if something drastic doesn’t really happen, it’s going to get worse, and worse and worse. It’s going to be a sad, sad time for West Indies cricket and everybody in the region,” he added.
Simmons was the third high-profile sacking by the WICB and followed that of two-time World Twenty20 winning captain, Darren Sammy and bowling coach, Curtly Ambrose.