Former Windies keeper backs Simmons despite difficult tours
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Phil Simmons and his players ©Getty Images
Phil Simmons and his players ©Getty Images

CMC – Former West Indies wicketkeeper, Jackie Hendricks, has thrown his support behind head coach, Phil Simmons, despite the Caribbean side’s recent whitewash on the tour of New Zealand. West Indies were thrashed by an innings in both Tests in Hamilton and Wellington, with both matches finishing before lunch on the respective fourth day. The preceding three-match Twenty20 series also failed to produce any good fortune for West Indies as New Zealand came out victors with a 2-0 series win.

While conceding he was bemused by the Windies form, Hendricks said he believed Trinidadian Simmons was the right man to lead the side. “I am very [disappointed]. I thought we would have done a lot better than the results turned out [to be],” said the former Jamaica Cricket Association president and Cricket West Indies director.
“I really don’t know what the answer to it is. I have every confidence in Phil Simmons as the coach and I think he has the right formula, but I don’t know why things aren’t working out.”

After being sacked by the previous Dave Cameron-led Cricket West Indies administration in 2016, Simmons was returned for a second stint last year, but has so far won just two of six Tests, seven of 12 One-Day Internationals and five of 12 T20 Internationals. West Indies struggled in all departments on the recent tour. Only one of their specialist batsmen – Jermaine Blackwood (216) – managed over 110 runs, while fast bowler, Shannon Gabriel, with six wickets, was the leading bowler.

The regional side’s fielding also left a lot to be desired as they dropped Henry Nicholls five times in the second Test as the left-hander rode his luck to a career-best 174.
Hendricks, who turned 87 last week, suggested remedial work be carried out with struggling players especially, in between tours. “One of my precepts is that practice is a most important thing, and I’ve always been a little bit concerned that after a tour, everybody seems to disappear and there’s no follow up,” he said in a radio interview here.

“People who have not performed up the scratch on the tour, I’ve always felt that the coaches should have them in a special practice facility for a period of time, trying to sort out their shortcomings. “I don’t think anything beats a good long batting practice – 10, 15 minutes in the net where people try to hit the ball out of the ground and not playing as if they were in a match [is not constructive].”

Hendricks, who played 20 Tests between 1962 and 1969, also questioned the lack of confidence in the batting group on recent tours. “I am one of the old-timers. I remember the days of (Michael) Holding and (Sir Andy) Roberts and (Joel) Garner and those fellows, and even up to Curly Ambrose, and if we won the toss we would send in the opposition quite often,” he said. “But I think we’re doing this now [but] it gives me the impression that we’re not too confident about our batting.”

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