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2019

New CWI president to apologise to Simmons

Former Windies coach Phil Simmons

… ready to settle legal claims

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – Newly-elected Cricket West Indies (CWI) president, Ricky Skerritt, says he intends to issue an apology to former head coach Phil Simmons, for recent controversial comments by his predecessor, Dave Cameron, who labelled the Trinidadian’s hiring as a “bad decision”.

The former St Kitts and Nevis government minister, who stunned Cameron in last Sunday’s CWI elections in Jamaica, hinted that the regional governing body was poised to settle the long-running legal dispute over damages with Simmons.

Speaking in a wide-ranging interview with CMC Sports yesterday, a passionate Skerritt said Simmons had been “very competent” in his time in charge of West Indies, and described his sacking as one of the low points in West Indies cricket during the last administration.
During the recent election campaign, Cameron told a Jamaica radio station that CWI “made a bad decision when we hired Phil and we had to get out of that situation”.

But Skerritt, who said he was involved in Simmons’s hiring, disagreed.
“In our opinion, the Phil Simmons issue was one of the unfortunate developments over the last few years,” Skerritt said.
“Phil Simmons is an excellent coach, a world class coach. I think my predecessor made an an unfortunate statement when he said it was a mistake hiring Phil Simmons.

“I was involved in the interview panel that recruited Phil Simmons from a long list of competitors and Phil Simmons was the best candidate, and he proved himself in terms of his results on the field to have been a very competent coach.”

He added: “And if it is one thing that I’m going to do as president of CWI is to apologise to Phil Simmons for having been referred to as a mistake. CWI did not make a mistake when Phil Simmons was recruited.”
Simmons was abruptly axed in September 2016 just days before the start of a series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, for what CWI said were “differences in culture and strategic approach”.

The Caribbean side were promptly whitewashed in the Twenty20 and one-day series, before also losing the three-Test series, 2-1.
Skerritt said he remained sceptical about the reasons behind Simmons’s dismissal.
“There might be some more underlying causes which we are not privy to,” the former West Indies team manager noted.

The matter has since been the subject of a court case between Simmons and the board, with Cameron saying recently the former West Indies player had claimed too much in damages, causing the matter to drag on.
CWI had already admitted liability in the matter.

A court hearing was set for yesterday and Skerritt gave the assurance that the matter would soon be a thing of the past.
“Within minutes of becoming president – literally within minutes – as soon as the annual general meeting ended, I was able to have a quick brief from the chief financial officer and the chief operations officer on the matter,” Skerritt said.

“And I’m confident that matter will be sorted out very, very quickly, if it actually hasn’t been sorted out already today (yesterday). I will find out tomorrow (today) and as soon as the matter is settled, CWI will put out a statement accordingly.”

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Cricketwindies is the leading voice for Caribbean and International cricket news, information and opinion. We’re a community of cricket fans who follow all cricket. In other words, a bunch of high-strung, fanatical cricket enthusiasts who have far too much time on their hands.

For many years the West Indies team ruled the cricket world, playing undefeated in a Test series for over 15 years. Recently the West Indies team has suffered several losses but with the emergence of new high-calibre players the future for the West Indies cricket team looks very good!

West Indians are passionate about their cricket, quick to cheer when the team performs well but also quick to criticize a poor performance. Thousands of West Indians always turn out to watch their team play .... and hopefully win!

Cricket is seen as a unifying force in the West Indies, bringing together players (and supporters) from across the region. This gentleman's game has brought considerable exposure to the islands of the Caribbean, with the West Indian cricketers being remembered not only for their incredible talent and skills but also for their deportment and sense of fair play.

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