Former West Indies all-rounder Phil Simmons will step down from his position as Afghanistan coach after the end of the ICC men’s World Cup. Simmons, who took over the position in December 2017, said he has achieved his target of taking Afghanistan to the World Cup and the time is ripe for him to leave. “I have thought about it and I have actually given the ACB my notice that I will not be renewing my contract. I will move on to something different once my contract expires on July 15,” Simmons told ESPNcricinfo. Simmons’ contract with Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) runs until the end of the World Cup and he might have been given an extension given Afghanistan’s rise under his guidance.
“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 ACB’s goal at the time they appointed me,” Simmons said. “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,” added the 56-year-old, under whom Afghanistan won the World Cup Qualifier last March. Last month, ACB had controversially appointed Gulbadin Naib as ODI captain in place of Asghar Afghan, who had a four-year captaincy stint across all formats. The decision was slammed by top players such as Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi.
The board also named Rahmat Shah and Rashid as skippers for the Test and T20I teams respectively. Simmons said he had no clue about the decisions and he was not consulted before making those changes. “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.”
Afghanistan will open their World Cup campaign against five-time champions Australia on June 1.