West Indies head coach Phil Simmons made a telling statement after several claims stating that the all-rounder, Odean Smith, was being victimised by the team after he was left out of the playing XI for the third T20I against England.
Smith played in the first T20I where he bowled a solitary over and scored 7 runs. In the next match, he wasn’t brought on to bowl and was also not needed to bat. Smith was subsequently dropped in the third T20I for Rovman Powell, who went on to score a century.
“For me, that can’t happen when I’m here. You don’t victimise anyone. You don’t try to pull down anyone. You try to make players a better person first of all, and a better cricketer afterward.“
“In my coaching career and even in my playing career, you look to help the man next to you. And that’s one thing I’ve been preaching in this team, and in all the teams that I’ve dealt with. So, there is no such thing as victimisation here and there will be none as long as I’m around,” Simmons told ESPNcricinfo.
Phil Simmons explains the reasoning behind Powell’s inclusion
Although Powell managed to blast a hundred thereby proving his inclusion in the team was the right call, there were questions raised as to why Smith was dropped in the first place. Simmons mentioned that it was a matter of horses for courses and thereby Powell was given the green light.
“I think you’re going down the wrong line with this. Let me explain something to you, and I’m saying it again. We need to stop this foolishness that we’re going on with. We sit down and we look at the best team for the day. And if Odean wasn’t in the best team for the day, it is because we thought that Rovman was better suited for yesterday. All those who want to sit out there and preach about victimisation, I think they need to look within themselves.“
“There’s no victimisation in selection in West Indies cricket, and there’s no victimisation in this team is playing anyone. So, we need to start stepping away from that and letting the people who are pushing this know that that’s not happening. I’m not going to be answering any more questions about things like that,” Simmons added.
Several players including Dwayne Bravo responded to the incident in favor of Simmons and co.