herald

Sunday 11 December 2016

Simmons still helping Irish

Ireland may have lost the best coach in their history but Phil Simmons' departure could lead to closer links with the West Indies.

Trinidad-born Phil Simmons (pictured) worked wonders with the boys in Green during nearly eight years as head coach, establishing them as the dominant force in associate cricket and helping to build a compelling case for full member status.

But despite competitive showings on the world stage, including unforgettable victories over the England, Pakistan and the Windies, they have struggled for regular games against the big nations.

A biennial one day international against England and occasional visits from those touring their neighbours have for some time constituted Ireland's glass ceiling.

But with a sympathetic ear now in charge of the West Indies, the prospect of a Caribbean tour is now alive. "I'm sure that was spoken about in the negotiations about me leaving Ireland," said Simmons. "I'm sure that will happen soon. I will always push for that."

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