India defeated Australia by 31 runs to take a 1-0 led in the four-match series. @ Twitter/BCCI
India defeated Australia by 31 runs to take a 1-0 led in the four-match series. @ Twitter/BCCI

Chennai: Former West Indies opener Phil Simmons on Thursday said cricket in his native will continue to suffer till “somebody decides to do the right things”, expressing sadness at a time when his country of employment, Afghanistan, is making rapid strides in the sport.

On the West Indies team’s struggles over the years and the crushing innings loss to Bangladesh in a Test recently, he said it was depressing.

“I can imagine how depressing it must be for the Clive Lloyds, Viv Richards‘ and Sir Garry Sobers of this world. It is depressing for all of us. Until somebody decides to do the right things where cricket is concerned, it is going to stay like that for a while,” he said.

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The Afghanistan coach lauded India’s victory in the first Test against Australia and expected the team to maintain the momentum at Perth.

“Brilliant performance by India in Adelaide. They have put down a marker saying that we are here to win the series. I think Cheteshwar Pujara was exceptional in that first innings and he kept India in the match,” Simmons said.

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India defeated Australia by 31 runs to take a 1-0 led in the four-match series.

“India has good fast bowlers too, it is not just Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav. Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav can bowl well on bouncy wickets too and it is something that Australia should be wary of at Perth,” Simmons, who is here with the Afghanistan team for a training camp, told PTI.

The Afghan players are training at the Centre for Sports Sciences (CSS) premises at Sri Ramachandra University. The camp would conclude on December 15.

Asked to pick a favourite for the 50-overs World Cup in England next year, the former Caribbean batsman said England would have to be one because of the way the team was playing.

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“England will be high up there. It will be because of the way they are playing and also the conditions. Given their form and the make-up of their team, you have to say England,” he added.

About Afghanistan team’s preparations for the World Cup, Simmons said it had started with the camp in Chennai.

“Preparations for the World Cup have just started and it has started well. The series against Ireland in February and March will give us a better idea as to where we stand.

“We still have a lot of work to do in the next three months so when May comes we can be as sharp as we can hope to be. We have started well. Hopefully, everything will get better as we move along,” the Afghan coach said.

On whether he had an idea of the squad that would be travelling to England, Simmons said the series against Ireland would be an indicator in that regard.

“Once we start whittling down our squad, we will know who are the 18 who will make it to the tournament. By the end of February-March, when we play the ODI series against Ireland, we can know.” To a query as to whether the team was too dependent on star leg-spinner Rashid Khan, he said that was not the case.

“I don’t know where that concern comes from. In the Asia Cup recently, it wasn’t just Rashid Khan who took wickets. Lot of guys got wickets too. I’m not too worried. People are of the opinion that he is the only one who can win games. As long as the team doesn’t think that way, we are fine.”

Afghanistan, who made their entry into Test cricket with a comprehensive defeat to India in Bengaluru earlier this year, need to get better at playing the longer format, he said.

“We need to get better at playing the longer format of the game as we haven’t played much over the years. Most of the players have been exposed to the white-ball format.”