West Indies coach Phil Simmons has called on the team’s batsmen to set big targets for themselves as they look towards the upcoming battle of saving the final Test.

Chasing a sizeable 389 to win and having lost two wickets that of opener John Campbell and bowler Kemar Roach, who played the role of the night watchman, with just 10 runs on the board, the West Indies have an uphill battle.  The team’s highest score for the series so far is 318, set in the first innings of the first Test.

In five innings since the team has failed to crack the 300 barrier, which a frustrated Simmons believes is partly due to getting starts but failing to carry on and post big scores. So far for the series, Kraig Brathwaite, Shane Dowrich, Shamarh Brooks and Jermaine Blackwood have all managed half-centuries but have failed to go on to triple digits.

“We haven’t had any 100s in this series yet so I’m always putting pressure on them to get it,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom press conference.

“It’s still a good wicket to bat on so they have to set themselves targets of getting a big 100 on this wicket.  Tomorrow is only the fourth day, so we have a lot of time to bat, but we have to show the determination to get those big scores.”

West Indies coach Phil Simmons has admitted there are some long conversations to be had about the composition of the team’s top order, ahead of the third and final Test against England.

Heading into the series, concerns had been raised about how the team’s top order would fare against an experienced England bowling attack.  So far, they have not proven to be unfounded.  With the exception of Brathwaite, the top team’s top three has failed to fire so far. 

John Campbell and Shai Hope have only managed to muster high scores of 28 and 25, respectively, so far this series, and failed to make it to double digits in two of four innings.  Though offering no confirmation, Simmons admitted it could be time for some changes.

“It’s something that we have to look at over the next couple days and decide which direction we go then,” Simmons told members of the media, via a Zoom press conference.

“They haven’t fired so we have to consider it (changes) over the next couple days,” he added.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons expects a fired-up Kemar Roach for the third and decisive Test against England after the pace bowler finally broke a long drought.

Roach ended the second Test with overall figures of 4 for 95 but that did not tell the full story.  Prior to that, the pace bowler, despite crafting excellent, economic spells, had failed to claim a wicket for the entire first Test. In fact, Roach’s dismissal of Ben Stokes ended a wicket drought going back to August 31, 2019, and lasting 521 deliveries, or 86.5 overs.

It was a strange for the fast bowler, who starred for the West Indies team the last time the team’s met in the Caribbean, where he claimed 13 wickets, with one five and two four-wicket hauls.  Now that he has got the monkey off his back, however, Simmons expects more wickets to come, which would be good news for the Windies.

“It’s great to see him getting wickets, it’s been a while since I have seen him bowl so well and not get wickets,” Simmons told members of the media on Sunday.

“I’m glad he is back in the wickets that will just fuel his fire for the next Test match.”

The West Indies will play England in the decisive Test, at Old Trafford, beginning on Friday.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons can no longer ignore the top-order batting of Shai Hope, who has failed to come off with the bat in four innings of the #raisethebat Series for the Wisden Trophy, currently ongoing in England.

Hope had scores of 16 and nine in the first Test the West Indies won by four wickets in Southampton before scoring 25 and seven in a 113-run defeat in Manchester.

Hope, since scoring back-to-back hundreds against England in 2017, has only managed to get past 50 on four occasions, even as he faced the music 39 times.

“I am concerned. He has now gone some four innings without a score and in contrast to how he played over the last four months, five, six months in the other formats, I am concerned about his form and we will be sitting down and chatting about that,” said Simmons.

The coach, who was speaking in a press conference after the West Indies defeat by England in the second Test at Old Trafford, was referencing Hope’s phenomenal year with the bat as an ODI player.

In Hope’s last 10 ODI innings, he has scored three centuries, and three half-centuries, including 115, 51 and 72 in his last three innings against Sri Lanka earlier this year.

Simmons has said it was too early to decide on whether or not Hope would be dropped for the third Test or if another role in the batting line-up would suit him more.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons is disappointed that batsmen in his team have not converted good starts into big scores, blaming that fact on defeat to England in the second Test of the #raisethebat Series at Old Trafford on Monday.

According to Simmons, half-centuries from Kraigg Brathwaite, 75, Shamarh Brooks, 68 and 62, Roston Chase 51, and Jermaine Blackwood, 55, were missed opportunities.

The five half-centuries were scored in totals of 287 and 198 as the West Indies lost by 113 to hosts England, 469-9 declared and 129-3 declared, with an hour left to play on the fifth day and despite a rained-out third day.

“We had five or six half-centuries and no conversions. It is something that we have been talking about a lot and nobody has taken up that opportunity in this game yet again, so it is disappointing,” said Simmons.

The England victory tied the #raisethebat Series for the Wisden trophy at 1-1 leaving Friday’s game at Old Trafford as the decider.

“I think we have to do something different, we just lost a Test match. We have to add to things done in the first Test match and subtract from some of the things we have done in this Test match. I think it is critical that our batsmen carry on and make big hundreds,” said Simmons.

Ben Stokes’ bruising 78 from just 57 deliveries took the second Test at Old Trafford away from the West Indies, who, with 214 runs in arrears and eight England wickets to try and get, had the slightest of chances on day five.

Stokes slammed four fours and three sixes to lead England to 129-3 from just 19 overs of batting. The innings gave England two things, runs and time.

It made sure they got 85 overs to bowl at the West Indies, as well as a fair number of runs to act as a buffer in case they couldn’t get 10 wickets.

Speaking about the innings, West Indies coach, Phil Simmons, said he was not surprised, but he was disappointed because the West Indies got a chance to stop the carnage early out.

When Stokes was on 29, John Campbell, fielding at deep extra-cover, floored a chance off Shannon Gabriel, that may have changed the course of the game.

“The thing about him is that we know he can do that. And if you go out and drop him within six balls of the start, well then you’ve got problems then,” said Simmons.

“I think it was our doing that he got the opportunity to go on and show what he’s made of and we know what he’s made of.”

England, thanks to an all-round bowling performance would go on to win by 113 runs, bowling out the West Indies for 198, with Shamarh Brooks, 62, Jermaine Blackwood, 55, and Jason Holder, 35, the main contributors.

The #raisethebat Series for the Wisden Trophy now lies at 1-1 with the series decider on Friday at the same venue.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons has pinpointed five or six overs during the course of the second Test in the #raisethebat Series at Old Trafford, that were the catalyst for the visitors ending 113-run losers.

West Indies coach, Phil Simmons, has admitted that a smidge of disappointment in an otherwise satisfactory victory over England lay in the fact that none of his batsmen was able to reach triple digits.

Returning Windies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel secured a 9-wicket haul, with Jermaine Blackwood crafting a well-earned and crucial second innings knock of 95 as the team registered a 4 wicket win for a 1-0 series lead in Southampton last week. Blackwood, who faced 154 balls and anchored the regional team’s innings, seemed well on the way to securing a second Test century, but was caught by James Anderson off the bowling of stand-in captain Ben Stokes. In the first innings, Kraigg Brathwaite battled to 65, with Shane Dowrich getting 61.

For the second Test, Simmons, who insists the Windies will have no room for complacency, pointed out that the aim is to see similar scores transformed to centuries.

“The fact that we had two guys getting 60s and a couple of guys getting 40s it was disappointing to not go on to score 100s. I like to see 100s on my scorecard at the end of an innings,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom conference call on Tuesday.

“I think that is one of the areas we need to improve on. If one of the guys who had scored 60 went on to score 100, the game might have been easier for us at the end, so we have to make sure that batsmen score big 100s and take games away from the opposition,” he added.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons was quick to dismiss any suggestions that England underestimated the team heading into the first Test last week.

On the back of a responsible 95 from Windies batsman Jermaine Blackwood, and a 9-wicket haul from pace bowler Shannon Gabriel, the regional team claimed a 1-0 lead after a 4-wicket win in Southampton, on Sunday.  With the omission of veteran fast bowler Stuart Broad from the first Test, however, former England captain Nasser Hussain suggested the hosts may have underestimated the West Indies.  England instead, opted for a line-up that included Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and James Anderson.

 "Hats off to West Indies for a super performance, but I'd like to ask England one question. If this had been the first game of the Ashes, would they have left out Stuart Broad?" Hussain asked in his post-match analysis.

Simmons has, however, refuted any suggestions of underestimation.

“I don’t think so.  England is a professional unit and I would not expect that from them. I think they thought on the day they needed to bat first.  Maybe they looked at how the match would end, the wicket and how dry it was at the time,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom press conference.

“There are many factors why they could have batted first. I don’t want to speculate but I don’t think they took us for granted,” he added.

“I think there is a choice between five quality bowlers, so one had to sit out.  It came to Broad that day but there are three back-to-back Test matches and England has maybe five or six Test matches, so sometimes we think that’s the way we have to go.”

The West Indies and England have had competitive outings in the last two Test match series between the teams.  The West Indies also won a Test match, in England, in 2017, before claiming the Wisden Trophy with a 2-1 win over England in the Caribbean last year.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons believes his captain, Jason Holder’s, 1-43, during England’s second innings was as important as any bowling feats throughout the fourth day.

The West Indies will need just two wickets tomorrow and attempt to minimize the 170-run lead the hosts have after they were restricted to 284-8.

The West Indies, leading England by 99 runs at the Ageas Bowl at the beginning of Saturday, were pushed back, as openers Rory Burns, 42, and Dom Sibley, 50, whittled down that lead.

After lunch, things got worse for the West Indies, who had to remain patient as Zak Crawley, 76, and stand-in skipper Ben Stokes, 46, threatened to take the game away from them, pushing England’s lead in the match to 135 before the latter was removed by a fine piece of bowling from Holder.

Holder, for the second time, turned Stokes around after just changing the field to include two gullies and had him caught by Shai Hope.

It’s what he does. He comes back and puts in the big spells for the team.

Simmons was speaking at the end of day four, highlighting what was a pivotal moment in the West Indies’ second stint on the field.

England then lost five wickets for 35 runs, as Shannon Gabriel, 3-62, and Alzarri Joseph, 2-40, reduced England to 284-8, a lead of 170.

“That’s the way he leads this team and I didn’t expect anything different,” said Simmons.

“He was bowling for a while and you expected him to change but he wanted to make that breakthrough for the team.”

Members of the West Indies squad knelt and held clenched fists as they showed full support for the fight against racism, inequality and injustice.

Before Wednesday’s start to the #RaiseTheBat series at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, both West Indies and England teams announced they would wear the Black Lives Matter logo on the collars of their playing shirts.

They further demonstrated support by kneeling on the field and on the boundary.

All members of the West Indies squad also wore black gloves. In addition, a flag was flown over the team’s balcony with the composite logos of Cricket West Indies and Black Lives Matter on the traditional maroon background.

Speaking ahead of the series, West Indies Head Coach Phil Simmons said:

PULLQuote: “It means a hell of a lot to all the players and all the staff on the tour. But it's not just about now, it's about life on the whole.”

The Black Lives Matter emblem was designed by Alisha Hosannah, the partner of Troy Deeney, captain of English Premier League side Watford. 

He was contacted by CWI and permission was granted for the logo to be displayed on the collar according to ICC regulations.

The logo has a clenched fist in place of the letter “A” in the word “Black”. It has also been used on the shirts of all 20 Premier League clubs since football returned behind closed doors following the break for COVID-19.

President of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA), Conde Riley, is wrong to ask for the immediate sacking of West Indies head coach, Phil Simmons.

I have great respect for Mr Riley, who has served Barbados and West Indies cricket admirably for more than 20 years, but his utterances this week were, in a word, irresponsible.

Mr Riley’s comments have created an issue where there should be none.

Here are the facts as I understand them.

Simmons had a death in his family and there was a funeral which would, if he were to go, place him at risk of contracting COVID-19 because he is now outside of the bio-secure controls at Old Trafford, Manchester where the West Indies cricket team is staying ahead of a three-Test series against England.

Once outside of the bubble, Simmons (and the coach must have been fully aware of this, put himself at the risk of adding to the 313, 483 cases of Coronavirus in the United Kingdom.

The CWI and the England and Wales Cricket Board had come up with a strategy for ensuring the safety of cricketers in this series, inclusive of protocols for when somebody has to leave the bio-secure environment.

Those protocols satisfied both parties that those inside the environment would be kept safe from those who come into it from outside.

Simmons would now be treated like somebody coming from outside and would have to self-isolate and go through testing before being re-integrated with those who had remained inside the bubble.

That being said, once all protocols are observed, there would be no risk to the players and/or staff, even if Simmons contracts COVID-19. So far, he has tested negative on two occasions.

The BCA president pointed out that he had received a number of phone calls from concerned parents and members of the BCA with concerns about the safety of the players, given Simmons’ actions.

However, as a member of the CWI board, Riley should have known that the protocols, put in place before the players left the Caribbean, would have meant no added risk because of Simmons’ exit and subsequent return. There should never have been this sort of knee-jerk reaction.

As a member of the CWI board, it should have been incumbent on Mr Riley to assure those calling, that the maintenance of the players’ safety had not been compromised.

Instead, Mr Riley fuelled an unjustified panic regarding the situation and ‘put pen to paper’ in an email to the board, that clearly spoke to an uninformed position.

"I just heard on the radio that our head coach Mr Phil Simmons attended a funeral recently and is now being quarantined as a result. If this is true, I am calling for his immediate removal as head coach,” read the email.

Simmons wasn’t being ‘quarantined as a result’. That was part of the protocol agreed to before he left. And the president of the BCA should never ben using language like “if this is true.” Why wouldn’t you get all the facts before penning such a potentially damaging missive?

Mr Riley went on to call Simmons’ behaviour “inconsiderate and reckless” but I submit that it was carefully planned and not reckless at all. There was no danger to anyone but Simmons himself.

Cricket West Indies had made a public statement about Simmons’ activities and Riley’s email runs in stark contrast to that.

"The entire process of his exit and re-entry to the bio-secure location was approved and managed by the medical teams of the CWI and the ECB and strictly followed protocols set up prior to the tour which addressed such scenarios," read the CWI statement.

How could Mr Riley and the CWI be so divergent in their views?

Mr Riley also suggested that the CWI be pro-active in anticipation of backlash from the English press.

No such backlash has come.

In fact, the only question that has come from the English press about Simmons’ actions, have had nothing to do with player safety.

Alzarri Joseph was asked if Simmons’ self-isolation would impact the ongoing practice game the West Indies are now playing in preparation for the first Test on July 8.

Joseph’s response was instructive.

According to the young fast bowler, the team of coaches was prepared for Simmons’ absence and everybody, including the players, already know what their jobs are.

Mr Riley should also know what his job is, and it isn’t to suggest that a coach be fired.

Now let’s hope the West Indies can put this behind them and get back to the business of retaining the Wisden Trophy at the end of #RaisetheBat series.

Phil Simmons, a sort of gentle giant, was an explosive batsman and a more than useful allrounder for the West Indies and at the first-class level before he turned to coaching.

His greatest achievements as a player came while playing league cricket in England.

One season, playing for Leicestershire, he scored 1244 runs and took 56 wickets. In that season, Simmons was said to have been bowling very quickly, a change from his generally medium-paced efforts.

But before those exploits, Simmons, who played in England during the 1980s and ‘90s, said while playing in the Northeast of the country, he faced quite a bit of racial abuse.

"It's not a nice thing to face. Especially in the leagues where you're by yourself sometimes. It affected my wife when I was up there. It's not a nice thing.

"I played in three or four different leagues. It was one particular league up in the northeast."

Simmons was speaking before the West Indies revealed it will be using a Black Lives Matter logo created by partner of Watford City football club captain, Troy Deeney, Alisha Hosannah.

At the time, Simmons was as yet unsure about how the West Indies would show its unity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

The West Indies are in England for the #RaisyourBat series for the Wisden Trophy.

The three-Test series begins July 8 at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton with two other games scheduled for Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons was granted permission to attend his father-in-law’s funeral in England last Friday. That’s the word from Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave, who was responding to queries from Sportsmax.TV.

Simmons has been self-isolating since and will only be permitted to re-join the team on Thursday, July 2, if he returns two negative Covid-19 tests.

However, his decision to leave the bio-secure location has raised some concerns and questions over whether the head coach unilaterally decided to leave the facility where the team has been preparing for the coming three-Test series beginning July 8.

Grave assured that Simmons received permission from the Chief Medical Officers of Cricket West Indies and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

“Yes, he left to go to his father-in-law's funeral on Friday and is now going through the re-entry process having had his whole exit and entry approved and managed by the medical teams,” Grave said.

In Simmons’ absence, assistant coaches Roddy Estwick and Rayon Griffith will oversee the Windies four-day, first-class fixture that starts on Monday.

Floyd Reifer will be the batting coach

Despite picking a minor injury during the West Indies squad match at the Emirates, team skipper Jason Holder is expected to be fit in time for the start of the first Test in the #RaiseTheBat series on July 8.

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