Phil Simmons[Photo: Getty Images]
Phil Simmons[Photo: Getty Images]

Phil Simmons on Friday quashed reports of all-rounder Odean Smith being victimised, especially after he was not included in the playing eleven for the third T20I.

With Odean Smith being benched from playing eleven, Rovman Powell made a blistering 107 off 53 balls to take West Indies into a 2-1 lead in the five-match series against England.

Rovman Powell
Rovman Powell (Image: Twitter)

Phil Simmons Rubbishes Claims Of Victimization After Odean Smith Was Dropped For 3rd T20I

West Indies coach Phil Simmons and Cricket West Indies have both rubbished reports of Odean Smith being ‘victimised’, after the allrounder was benched in favour of Rovman Powell for the third T20I against England.

“For me, that can’t happen when I’m here. You don’t victimise anyone. You don’t try to pull down anyone. You try to make players a better person first of all, and a better cricketer afterwards. In my coaching career and even in my playing career, you look to help the man next to you.

“And that’s one thing I’ve been preaching in this team, and in all the teams that I’ve dealt with. So, there is no such thing as victimisation here and there will be none as long as I’m around,” Phil Simmons was quoted as saying.

Phil Simmons ICC via Getty
Phil Simmons ICC via Getty Images.

Odean Smith bowled just one over for four runs in the first T20I and did not get to bowl in the second T20I before moving out of playing eleven for the third T20I. With the bat, Odean Smith made seven in the first match before not being required to bat in the second match as West Indies won by nine wickets.

Explaining the logic of bringing Powell in for Smith, which eventually worked wonders for West Indies, Phil Simmons said, “I think you’re going down the wrong line with this. Let me explain something to you, and I’m saying it again.

“We need to stop this foolishness that we’re going on with. We sit down and we look at the best team for the day. And if Odean wasn’t in the best team for the day, it is because we thought that Rovman was better suited for yesterday.”

Phil Simmons further urged everyone to not pay any heed to the rumours of victimisation in the West Indies camp.

“All those who want to sit out there and preach about victimisation, I think they need to look within themselves. There’s no victimisation in selection in West Indies cricket, and there’s no victimisation in this team is playing anyone.

“So, we need to start stepping away from that and letting the people who are pushing this know that that’s not happening. I’m not going to be answering any more questions about things like that.”

Odean Smith has played three ODIs and seven T20Is for West Indies so far. He came to prominence during CPL 2021, with his hard-hitting batting and ability to touch 140kph.

Phil Simmons Found Support From Dwayne Bravo

Phil Simmons found support from former West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo through Twitter.

“After enjoying a beautiful hundred, a West Indies win, series lead at present I woke up to see the same individuals who don’t care about the cricket trying to push a victimization narrative … hopeless unhappy ppl…I guess some ppl will never change!” tweeted Bravo.

Odean Smith 
Odean Smith Photo Credit: (Twitter)

Earlier, Ricky Skerritt, the President of Cricket West Indies (CWI), said in a statement that the narrative of a rift in the West Indies’ is a malicious attack on the credibility of white-ball skipper Kieron Pollard.

“I view this as a malicious attack on the credibility of the West Indies Captain, designed to sow division within our team that has just recorded three very impressive T20I performances against very strong opponents, including two outstanding wins and one heroic comeback to get within one run of victory.”

West Indies are currently leading England 2-1 in the five-match T20I series at the Kensington Oval in Barbados. The fourth and fifth matches of the series will be played at the same venue on Saturday and Sunday. After the series ends, West Indies will fly to India for a series that comprises three-match ODI and as many T20I matches to be played at Ahmedabad and Kolkata respectively.