Cricket: ‘New voice’ good for game

Ed Joyce says a “new voice” may help freshen up the Irish cricket team following Phil Simmons’ appointment as head coach of the West Indies. 

Cricket: ‘New voice’ good for game

Simmons will leave his position as Ireland coach next week to sign a €225,000-a-year contract with the Windies, and his first task will be to prepare his new side for the three-Test series with England in April and May.

Ireland batsman Joyce says Simmons, 51, has been a “colossus for the game here” since he succeeded Adi Birrell after the 2007 World Cup, but feels a fresh face in charge could help set a new challenge for the England-based county players in the current squad.

“Eight years is a long time for any coach, so it might be good both for him and for the West Indies, and for us, it is never the worst thing to get some fresh blood in and hear a new voice,” he told the Slog Sweep podcast.

“It could rejuvenate some of the players based here.”

Simmons is only under contract with Cricket Ireland until December, so the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) will have to pay minimal compensation to secure the Trinidadian, who played 26 Tests and 143 one-day internationals for the West Indies between 1988 and 1999.

There has been divisions within West Indies cricket over the last 12 months, with the players clashing with WICB president Dave Cameron over pay, but Joyce believes that the force of Simmons’ personality will help smooth over any internal tensions.

“He is very well respected among the current West Indies playing group – you could see that in the way he was around them when we played them in Nelson. He has a really good chance of getting the best out of them,” he said.

Cricket Ireland hope to attract a big name to succeed Simmons, with Zimbabwean Andy Flower, who coached England to three Ashes victories and the 2010 World Twenty 20 trophy, and former England assistant coach Mark Garaway, who has previously worked with Cricket Ireland as performance director, high on their wish-list.

Joyce, 36, also confirmed that he is considering retiring from international Twenty20 cricket, to protect a degenerative hip condition.

“I am still weighing up whether to play the qualification for the next World Twenty20 (in 2016), which is based in Ireland and Scotland.

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