Phil Simmons severely criticised for decision to leave West Indies camp to attend funeral


The news of West Indies head coach Phil Simmons leaving the West Indies camp to attend his father in law’s funeral has not gone down well with certain people holding authoritative posts in West Indies Cricket. Conde Riley, one of the board of directors of Cricket West Indies and the president of the Barbados Cricket Association, has called for the now UK based former West Indies Cricketer’s immediate sacking from the job, terming his decision as inconsiderate and reckless, and that it has “endangered the lives” of the rest of the touring party.

In an email to board members Riley wrote, “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. I am being bombarded by concerned parents and members of the BCA. This behaviour is inconsiderate and reckless. It endangers the lives of those 25 young men in the UK and in fact the entire management team and cannot be tolerated. The English press will have a feast on his judgement and I suggest we act swiftly.”

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A statement from CWI at the time confirmed that Simmons had gained permission to attend the funeral ahead of the tour.
The statement read, “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. Following his return, Simmons has been in self-isolation away from other members of the squad, exactly as had always been planned. He has so far undergone two COVID-19 tests since Friday, both of which came back negative. He will have another test on Wednesday before he will rejoin the squad as they prepare for the three match #RaiseTheBat Series against England.”

Simmons’ movements have been barely noted in the UK press as of now. Joe Root, the England captain, has been given similar dispensation to leave the training bubble to attend the birth of his second child. He will miss the first Test as a consequence.

Riley’s email comes a week before West Indies begin the three-Test series in England with the first match scheduled from July 8 in Southampton. West Indies are current holders of the Wisden Trophy after their 2-1 series win at home last year, but have tasted defeat in every Test match series in England since 1991.