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Simmons displeased by negativity regarding Windies squad selection for T20 World Cup

Published:Tuesday | October 12, 2021 | 12:08 AMLennox Aldred/Gleaner Writer
West Indies batsman Chris Gayle walks off after being dismissed for eight in the second Twenty20 International against South Africa in St George’s, Grenada on Sunday, June 27.
West Indies batsman Chris Gayle walks off after being dismissed for eight in the second Twenty20 International against South Africa in St George’s, Grenada on Sunday, June 27.
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West Indies coach Phil Simmons says the team needs support and not what he sees as negative energy regarding player selection ahead of the ICC Twenty20 (T20) World Cup, which starts in just over a week.

Simmons spoke to the media for the first time since arriving in Dubai, and the Trinidadian made it clear that this is not the time for negativity as the team gets ready to defend the title it won at the last tournament in 2016.

Some Windies legends and regional heads of government have criticised selectors about some of the players that were left out of the 15-man squad, with former captain Jason Holder being the most notable.

Former West Indies captain Sir Vivian Richards said he was “puzzled” at Holder’s omission while former West Indies fast bowler Sir Andy Roberts described the omission as “embarrassing”.

‘DEFIED ALL UNDERSTANDING’

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley said Holder’s omission “defied all understanding”, while Prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonzales also said that Holder should have been selected in the main squad ahead of Ravi Rampaul and Oshane Thomas.

Simmons said it was a tough task to leave out a player of Holder’s calibre.

“People need to back us in the things that we do,” he said. “Sometimes we are closer to things than the people who are commenting outside. We need to be backed in the decisions that we made, and right now we need the backing and the good vibes because we are going into a tournament in 10 days.”

Another player who has been mentioned regarding selection is Chris Gayle, who will be heading to the World Cup at 42 years old.

Gayle’s numbers heading into the tournament have not been good, with just one half-century in his last 16 T20 International innings. Despite this, Simmons believes a rejuvenated Gayle can be helpful at the World Cup.

“We have specific roles that we have put on Chris, and we trust that he is going to be ready and in form, having had a short rest from the game and the bubble,” Simmons says. “He is going to come back fresh and ready to produce what we ask him to do.”

The West Indies contingent is expected to break its six-day mandatory quarantine, and the players will have their first net session today.

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