Simmons: Barbados win a cause for optimism

West Indies coach Phil Simmons is thrilled with the way his players performed against England in their recent Test series, especially after they won the third Test to level the series against expectations.

Simmons took over the coaching job after finishing up his term with Ireland after the World Cup, and he has already had a big impact on the side's morale and performance, and he took much joy in beating England in Barbados.

Simmons told Reuters: "It is a cause for optimism, you are talking about winning a Test match where we weren't fancied to do anything in the series. It gives them good confidence that they were part of it.

"The biggest part of winning that game is what the youngsters and the team take from that.

"The key message was that there is the ability there to play test cricket and do well at test cricket and we have to start looking and making sure we know exactly what we are doing and what direction we are going and all the players are part of that.

"I think application is a really big thing and it was something that we had talked about. It is a big game, a game of patience, like a chess game and everybody had to understand what application meant, and I think everyone came to the party as far as that was concerned."

Simmons was also delighted with the progress made by his younger players, like Jermaine Blackwood, Jason Holder, and Kraigg Brathwaite, all of whom are 23 or younger and made valuable contributions in the series.

He said: "The talent becomes unimportant if you are not working. But if you have the talent and you are hard working then you are going somewhere. I think the talent is there with a lot of them, we just have to make sure that we work hard with that talent."

As for the salary disputes and off-field drama with the selectors and senior players over the past year, Simmons says he steers clear of all that and gets on with the job of making sure on-field preparations are complete.

He said: "The players and the board have their issues, I try to make sure that those issues don't come into my team when it is time to go and play cricket. You try to get them to make sure that they have all their issues sorted out before it’s time to go to cricket.

"I am not involved in that, it is not part of my job to be a mediator. I can just make sure that when it comes to cricket that they are doing the right things as players and the right things as a board for the team."

The Windies' next challenge is against Australia, who go to the Caribbean in June.