Plan put in place for life without Simmons

CRICKET IRELAND chief executive Warren Deutrom admits the board are putting in place contingency plans should coach Phil Simmons quit before the end of the year.

Plan put in place for life without Simmons

The Irish Examiner understands that Simmons’ contract ends in December, and that he has yet to sign an extension to the deal he signed in 2009.

It means that Ireland’s RSA Challenge one-day international with England today in Clontarf could be Simmons’ last high-profile game as Ireland coach.

Deutrom revealed: “I have asked him to come back to me next month, and give me his thoughts on what he wants to do. The ball is very much in his court.

“We had preliminary conversations when he returned from the World Cup in April. I said to him that I did not want to put him under any pressure, but that I wanted him to give me his thoughts by September.

“That would give us a bit of time in case he decides to move on, so that we can find a replacement.”

Simmons’ standing in the game is high after an impressive World Cup campaign in 2011 which peaked with the Kevin O’Brien-inspired win over England in India in March.

However, Cricket Ireland sources are confident the financial package they are offering Simmons is satisfactory, but fear that the 48-year-old could still be tempted by the day-to-day involvement that English county cricket offers a coach. Simmons acknowledged that the issue of a new contract had yet to be resolved, despite his current deal expiring in three months’ time.

“We decided that we would not discuss the issue until after the England game,” he said. “There is nothing on the table [from county cricket]. Myself and Warren have a good understanding, and maybe we will look forward to continuing it. We just have not sat down to talk about it.”

Ireland’s only injury worry going into today’s game against England is over the fitness of bowler Trent Johnston, who has a long-standing knee complaint.

England have picked an experimental squad for the 4,500-capacity sell-out, including four uncapped players; Leicestershire’s James Taylor, Yorkshire’s Jonathan Bairstow and Durham’s Ben Stokes and Scott Borthwick.

However, the hero of Bangalore, Kevin O’Brien, insists Ireland will not be taking anything for granted.

“They are bringing over a young side in terms of age, but these guys have four or five years’ experience in county cricket. We will treat the game as if the likes of [Kevin] Pietersen or [Jimmy] Anderson were playing.”

England will be captained for the first time by Eoin Morgan, who played 23 times for Ireland before switching allegiance, and the Dubliner is expecting a tough test from his former colleagues.

“We have played Ireland three times recently, and they have all been competitive games, games that have been very close,” he said. “We certainly won’t be taking Ireland for granted. The squad know what they are capable of, and that we need to play very good cricket to beat them.”

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