By Nick Mulvenney
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Coach Phil Simmons has not given up on any West Indies players and still wants the best talent available to represent the region in all formats of the game.
It has not gone unnoticed that while an inexperienced test side has succumbed to two heavy defeats on their current tour of Australia, a string of seasoned West Indies players are starring in the local Twenty20 Big Bash League.
Some, like opener Chris Gayle, say they are not currently fit to play the longest format but others, like all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, remain exiled as the fallout from the costly withdrawal from the tour of India in 2014 continues to resonate.
There have been suggestions by some in the Caribbean that West Indies should write off the older generation and concentrate on developing the existing squad, but Simmons would still like to welcome them back to the fold.
“I still have the feeling that it will always be good to get the best players from West Indies playing all formats of the game,” he told reporters at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Tuesday.
“If we can get that, then we will have an organisation that is moving forward. That is my hope now.
“At the end of the day we might have a solution but we still might have players that might not think they can play test cricket, or might not really want to play test cricket anymore.
“So when we get to that solution between the parties that are involved then we can see where that takes us.”
Simmons, who took over as coach at the end of last year’s World Cup, was suspended from his role last year for complaining publicly about not having the best players available for a tour of Sri Lanka.
Despite still not having his pick of the top talent, Simmons has been encouraged by the performances of some of the younger players, with the bat at least, in Australia.
Openers Kraigg Brathwaite and Rajenda Chandrika, all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite as well as Dwayne Bravo’s brother Darren have batted well enough to give their coach confidence there is light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
“There is a lot of light with the players and I think you can mention Kraigg and Carlos because they have got runs,” he added.
“The way Bravo has batted in all the test matches. The way Chandrika has looked. He hasn’t gone on to score a big score but the way he looked early on.
“Even the captain (Jason Holder) when he batted in the second test on the last day you can see there’s a lot there to work with.”
Days three and four of the third test in Sydney were washed out by rain and West Indies will resume their first innings on 248 for seven if any play is possible on the final day on Thursday.
(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)