West Indies news March 20, 2015

Simmons leaves Ireland for West Indies

ESPNcricinfo staff

Phil Simmons will leave his role as Ireland coach to become the new head coach of West Indies following the World Cup. Simmons, from Trinidad, enjoyed success in his eight years with Ireland and leaves them as the leading Associate nation.

Simmons, 51, played 26 Tests and 143 ODIs for West Indies between 1987 and 1999. He has signed a three-year deal with West Indies and is tasked with turning their fortunes around after a period of significant disappointment and political wrangling. His first assignment is a home Test series against England next month.

"Phil has a proven ability to develop players, while cultivating great team spirit and a winning culture," WICB chief executive Michael Muirhead said. "We have a number of young, talented players about whom he is excited to be coaching and we believe he is the right fit."

Simmons helped Ireland's standing in world cricket grow since he took charge in April 2007. His tenure included 224 matches, making him the longest serving coach in international cricket. During that time, Ireland won 11 trophies and qualified for every major ICC event, beating West Indies and England at the last two World Cups.

"I've had eight wonderful years as Ireland's head coach, and will always cherish the memories of those great days we've shared," Simmons said. "The wins in the World Cups over Full Members were all special as we showed the world just what Irish cricket is capable of.

"It was a very difficult decision to leave, but I couldn't turn down the opportunity to coach my home team. They're going through a difficult period at the moment, but I'm confident I can help to improve their fortunes."

Cricket Ireland CEO Warren Deutrom added: "Everyone will miss Phil Simmons. His warmth and strength of values endeared him to everyone. Over the last eight years, Phil has overseen our qualification for every major ICC event, identifying our best young talent, developing our players in skill-levels and self-belief, and producing a series of results that means every team in the world takes us seriously.

"As Phil has contributed to us, so we are proud to have helped him develop his career to the point that he can now pursue his dream of coaching his home team. He leaves with nothing other than our very best wishes."