Coach defends his corner February 7, 2005

Simmons hits back at critics

Cricinfo staff

Phil Simmons, Zimbabwe's coach, dismissed criticism aimed at him following the 3-2 one-day series defeat by Bangladesh and said that the loss was a result of complacency on the part of the players and the technical team.

Simmons was lambasted by Richie Kaschula, a member of the national selection panel and a former national player, in the aftermath of the defeat. "Phil must be held responsible for what has been happening in Bangladesh," Kaschula said. "Phil was left in charge and we, as selectors, are not happy with what has been happening. Phil was in charge of the team and he was doing his own things in selecting the teams that played, ignoring some of the things we told him."

But Simmons mounted a spirited defence on his return to Harare. "We played beyond expectations in the first two games and I think when we took the 2-0 lead in the one day series against the hosts the guys were surprised by the results and that led to the guys being excited," he said. "I think I was also excited by the result that the guys had posted and we seemed to have lost direction. Because of that and I believe that is where we got it all wrong.

"The batsmen let us down in the third game and that was the major reason we lost but we could have done better. The batsmen failed to reach 240 runs in the last three games."

Kaschula had slammed Simmons for his team selections, especially picking the out-of-sorts Dion Ebrahim. "Dion had not performed well in the third game and I thought of dropping him from the team for the fourth game but there is more that I as the coach saw in the young man than just playing on the field," Simmons argued. "I didn't drop him in the fourth game as he had impressed me during the practise sessions as he showed a lot of confidence in batting and seemed as if he had finally settled and I thought of including him in the team."