Category: West Indies (page 1 of 26)

West Indies board sacks Phil Simmons, hires new coach and then immediately suspends him

A statement from the West Indies Cricket Board reads:

“Phil Simmons has been an excellent servant of West Indies cricket, but the board feels it can no longer tolerate his continued desire to field the strongest team possible in one-day internationals. As such, his contract has been terminated with immediate effect.

“A replacement coach has already been employed, but his identity will not be revealed at this juncture due to an ongoing disciplinary matter. The new coach is currently suspended from active duty due to an ill-conceived notion that he would have the best West Indies players available to him.

“West Indies cricket has a long and proud tradition of underachievement and the board expects any new coach to buy into the principles of in-fighting, self-sabotage and short-sightedness on which this rich heritage has been built.”

This is the way a cricket career ends, not with a bang

Shiv - Nurdled the shit out of every attack from 1994 to 2015

Hurray! Friday! Let’s celebrate by writing about melancholy exits!

We’ve sadly had two recently. Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s international career ended just as he imagined it would when he first took up the sport as a boy, with a WhatsApp exchange between Test series. Meanwhile, Craig Kieswetter has had to call it a day at the age of 27 because of the hideous eye injury he sustained last year.

Chanderpaul did at least make it to the age of 40 as an international cricketer and with 164 Tests to his name, few can boast a longer career . He also finishes with an average of 51, so few can boast a better career either. Even so, no-one dreams of a poignant final moment in which all they’re doing is fuming at a message on their phone.

Was it the right time for him to go? He didn’t want to, but it’s a lot easier to make the decision to continue when you’re the player. You don’t really have other options, whereas the selectors do. For the West Indies, life goes on. For Chanderpaul, in a certain maudlin sense, it doesn’t.

It’s unclear from Kieswetter’s statement whether the issue is the injury itself or his reaction to it. “I feel mentally I will never again be the player that I was,” perhaps hints that it’s the latter.

And who can blame him? Having your eye socket fractured and your vision knackered is going to leave a perfectly understandable psychological mark, even if you get over the physical effects. This is why we should never be too angry at batsmen who back away from short-pitched bowling. They’re the logical ones. It’s the ones who get in line who have the wonky thinking.

Kieswetter’s career high point was being named man of the match when England won the World T20 in 2010. That bigstagegoodknockability was never really on display again and it’s bleak to think that reports such as this one reduce the whole course of his life up until now to those 49 balls.

Somerset play Hampshire tonight and the West Indies continue their Test against Australia. Hopefully both players will join the rest of us by having a beer and enjoying the spectacle. After all, it really ain’t so bad this side of the boundary ropes.

Why wasn’t Captain Hindsight made England coach for this series?

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Photo by Sarah Ansell

We can’t understand it. It seems such an obvious solution. Captain Hindsight wouldn’t have made all the obvious mistakes that Peter Moores made.

Maybe England’s loss would have been embarrassing if the opposition had been as mediocre as they were infamously branded, but this West Indies side seemed to us to be much better than that. They’ll surely make real progress until their next internecine conflict, at which point all the good work will be undone. They’re not dissimilar to England in that regard.

There are the usual calls for revolution, but England tend to make significant changes after every high profile defeat. There comes a point where it’s change itself which is holding back the side.

Moeen Ali should never have played

Moeen Ali was getting a lot of criticism yesterday. He certainly bowled badly – self-consciously, perhaps – but it’s also true that spinners get harshly judged for failing on a turning pitch in the final innings in a way that an opening bowler failing to exploit the new ball does not. You’re very alone and there’s no chance to make up for poor bowling later on. Moeen is also unfortunate enough to be an all-rounder. An all-rounder gets twice as many chances to fail.

After the match, Nasser Hussain conducted an interview with Peter Moores in which he looked like he was about to drive a broken bottle into the England coach’s neck at any moment. He asked about the absence of Adil Rashid. We’ve been desperate to see Rashid play, but not because we feel absolute certainty that he’d have won the game for England. The question therefore seemed to amount to: “Would you have preferred to have been slagged off for selecting Adil Rashid?”

Give us what we want

As George Dobell said the other day, hindsight is Twenty20. A lot of the people moaning now are those who were previously moaning about the absence of Stokes, Moeen and Buttler – players who are all now in the side. Whenever England lose, the reason, to them, is obvious. But we can never dip into alternative universes to find out what would have happened had things been done differently. Only the coach finds his decisions exposed by reality. Some were good, some were bad, but we at least can’t rouse ourself to outrage. If nothing else, we hugely enjoyed this Test match, last day and all.

Michael Vaughan, the King of Populist Opinion, has expressed an interest in the new director of cricket job. Doubtless he’ll reject it because they didn’t create quite the right job description and will add this to his list of obvious problems with obvious solutions, but maybe England should kowtow to him.

They should give Vaughan the job and let him select the side. He can even put it to a public vote on Twitter to ensure it remains populist enough (“Fav for Plunkett, RT for Wood”). Give him complete control. Let him decide everything so that when England lose we can all agree to stop whinging on, pretending that the solutions were always obvious. Maybe then people can get back to enjoying Test matches, win or lose, without revelling in the latter as being some sort of proof in the flawlessness of their world view.

Test action constriction and the case for a James Anderson ghola

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Wickets advance a Test match. Yesterday therefore had all the meaningful action of two days’ cricket – 18 wickets – constricted into one.

Jerome Taylor kicked things off, but it was Jimmy Anderson who enjoyed himself to the full with six wickets for 42 runs off 12.4 overs. In the comments to yesterday’s post, we suggested that the ECB might like to start researching ghola technology with a view to opening the bowling with a James Anderson in perpetuity.

The main side effect of wickets being so cheap is the impact on the exchange rate. Runs in this match are becoming more valuable by the second. But how do you get them? The glory of Test cricket is that you can inch along for an entire day like Alastair Cook or slice sixes back over the bowler’s head like Jermaine Blackwood and both approaches are equally valid.

England are 39-5, just 107 ahead. It seems like they need quite a lot more, but who knows, maybe they already have enough. One decent partnership could decide this Test. That fragility and uncertainty is what will make all that follows to watchable.

Jerome Taylor’s back

As in ‘returned’. He hasn’t got ankylosing spondylitis or anything.

We’ve always liked Jerome Taylor. He tends to bowl quickly, full and straight and that tends to mean more runs and more wickets, which if you think about it is pretty much how a Test match progresses.

If this were a five Test series, we suspect that Taylor would become increasingly bothersome for England, producing that ‘history repeating’ phenomenon where a batsman keeps getting out to the same sort of delivery and starts to question himself, his technique and other important things, such as whether the inclusion of mustard in a recent batch of jerk chicken paste was an accident worth repeating.

But it’s not a five Test series. It’s a three Test series where Taylor missed the middle one. As such, he’ll bowl well and then everyone in England will forget about him and instead obsess about whichever Australian bowler takes most wickets in this summer’s Ashes.

Frustrated with this lack of recognition, Taylor will get himself into a drunken scuffle. But he’s such a class act, he’ll wait until a very, very distant relation has first got the Taylors in credit by winning some sort of award.

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