Phil Simmons has decided that he will not extend his contract as coach of Afghanistan after the ICC World Cup 2019. The former West Indies opener, who took up the position in December 2017, said that the time is right for him to move on after accomplishing his goal – to help Afghanistan reach the World Cup.
According to a report in ESPNCricinfo on Sunday, Simmons is understood to have communicated his decision to the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) on Saturday. His contract, which runs until the end of the World Cup, would likely have been extended given Afghanistan’s results during his tenure.
“I have thought about it and I have actually given the ACB my notice that I will not be renewing my contract,” Simmons told ESPNcricinfo.
“I will move on to something different once my contract expires on July 15. I signed up originally for 18 months and I think I have done a lot in this period. It is time for me to move on to something else now. To want to get to the World Cup – that was was ACB’s goal at the time they appointed me. My goal is always to leave things better than when I joined: the way we practice, the way we think about the game, the way we assess other teams. I’ve tried to help the players in all those areas.”
Simmons’ decision comes soon after the ACB announced a surprising change in leadership, which brought an end to Asghar Afghan‘s four-year captaincy stint across formats. Gulbadin Naib was appointed ODI captain, while Rahmat Shah and Rashid Khan were put in charge of the Test and T20I teams respectively.
The announcement did not go down well with Rashid and Mohammad Nabi, who expressed their resentment on Twitter. Nabi said it wasn’t “the right time” to change the captain, and credited Afghan for helping the team “gel” well. Rashid, who is the ODI vice-captain, called the move “irresponsible and biased”.
Simmons revealed that he wasn’t consulted before the decision was made. “No, I was not aware of it. I was not given any reasons. It was the decision of the Afghanistan Cricket Board and the selectors,” Simmons said.
“How can I take it? I can’t change it. So, I have to just get on with what I have to do and make sure the squad is preparing in the same way I wanted them to prepare barring the [captaincy] change.”