WICB needs to solve problem of players’ absence: Simmons

Melbourne, Dec 25 (IANS) Head coach Phil Simmons has said the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) needs to find a solution to the problem of regional players opting to play Twenty20s instead of international cricket.

Several players with Test experience are currently campaigning in the Big Bash League T20 Down Under while the West Indies are clashing with Australia in a three-Test series, and Simmons said it was “frustrating” not having these players available to strengthen the squad, reports CMC.

“I’m totally frustrated,” Simmons told media at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Thursday.

“It’s enjoyable to see (Andre) Russell bowling at 140 clicks and (Dwayne) Bravo hitting three or four sixes and Chris (Gayle) in (playing the Big Bash).”

“It is frustrating that we don’t have them yet playing in a Test series but it’s something that’s been going on for a while.”

“It’s up to our administration and our bosses to find out how is the best way that we can get these guys on the pitch,” he added.

Gayle, with 103 Tests to his name and an average of 42 runs per innings, has not played the longest format for the Caribbean side in over a year due mainly to injury.

Bravo, meanwhile, an energetic all-rounder, played the last of his 40 Tests five years ago and retired from the format earlier this year to focus on limited overs cricket.

Russell, an explosive 27-year-old all-rounder, has already said his dodgy knees are unable to hold up to the rigours of the game’s longest format.

Former Test captain Darren Sammy and Lendl Simmons, also currently playing in the Big Bash, have also both quit Test cricket while leg-spinner Samuel Badree – another T20 star plying his trade Down Under – has never played in a Test.

Trinidadian Simmons, who was recently suspended by the WICB for controversially claiming there was “outside interference” in the selection of the one-day team for the Sri Lanka series last month, said there was much to be learned from the New Zealand example.

“It’s up to the administration to work out how we get to the stage of, let’s say New Zealand, because they have similar things and they are getting all their players to play,” he said.

“And it’s up to our administration and our bosses to find out how is the best way that we can get these guys on the pitch.”

The West Indies face Australia in the second Test at the MCG starting Boxing Day (December 26), following their heavy innings and 212-run defeat in the opening Test in Hobart a fortnight ago.

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