West Indies appoint Simmons

Trinidadian Simmons leaves his role as Ireland coach after eight years and will begin work with the West Indies after the World Cup.

Simmons led Ireland to two 50-overs and four Twenty20 World Cups, as well as the ICC Associate Nations treble in 2013, and he was??the longest-serving current coach in international cricket, having been in charge for 224 games since April 2007.

???We believe Phil is the right individual for our team and our region at this time, so we want to welcome him back home,??? said West Indies Cricket Board chief executive Michael Muirhead.

???Phil has a proven ability to develop players, while cultivating great team spirit and a winning culture.

“We have a number of young, talented players about whom he is excited to be coaching and we believe he is the right fit.”

Muirhead added: ???Phil has impressed us with his understanding of the current realities of West Indies cricket and his ability to articulate practical examples and strategies of things that could be implemented within the team to improve performance.

???His independence of character and his resolve to stand up for what he believes in were also strong qualities that convinced us that Phil was best suited to usher the West Indies team into a new era of success.???

Simmons, who played 26 Tests and 143 one-day internationals for West Indies from 1987 to 1999, said it was difficult to leave Ireland but could not resist the chance to coach the West Indies.

???West Indies have a tremendous history and prestige in the game, and I am honoured to have been given this opportunity,” said Simmons.

???There is an abundance of young talent coming through the ranks, and to be able to assist with the development of the future playing talent in the West Indies is fantastic. I can???t wait to begin and I am looking forward to starting work with the players.

???I am excited to be beginning this new chapter in my coaching career and to have the opportunity to create a winning culture.

???West Indies have a huge following across the world and I have great admiration for the passion fans show for our team. We are determined to give the supporters the brand of cricket and the level of success that we are all looking to achieve.???

Ireland captain William Porterfield said Simmons has had a massive influence on the direction of Irish cricket.

???Phil???s been superb for the team and Irish cricket throughout his time in charge,” said Porterfield. “We???ve all improved and grown as cricketers thanks to his efforts.

???He???s been a towering presence not just in Irish cricket, but across the world where he is held in such high regard.

???While it???s sad to be losing him at this time, everyone in the squad understands his reasons for wanting to coach his home country. We wish him and his family all the very best in the future.???

Simmons??? first challenge will be the West Indies’ home three-match Test series against England next month.