(CMC) St Kitts & Nevis Patriots made their second bombshell announcement yesterday, disclosing that they have appointed Phil Simmons to be head coach for the next season of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
Simmons’ appointment comes a little over three months after his dismissal from the post of West Indies head coach, following what the West Indies Cricket Board described as “differences in culture and strategic approach”.
His appointment to direct strategy for the Patriots, replacing South African Eric Simons in the position, is the third major announcement in recent days that has allowed the fledgling league to make headlines during its off-season.
“I am delighted to take up the role as head coach of the Patriots,” said Simmons. “I would like to thank the owners and management for offering me this exciting opportunity to lead the squad.
Simmons’ appointment follows last week’s announcement that talismanic opening batsman Chris Gayle was acquired by the Patriots in a big transfer move from defending champions Jamaica Tallawahs and the Barbados Tridents revealed on Wednesday that prized opener Dwayne Smith was returning.
The Gayle move has excited the taste buds of the new Patriots coach and allows him to reunite with one of the key players who helped him guide the West Indies to a second Twenty20 World Cup title last April in India.
“I am very pleased with the recent signing of Gayle,” he said. “This is a major boost for me coming in as the new coach and I look forward to working closely with Chris to bring the desired success to the St Kitts & Nevis franchise.”
Uday Nayak, co-owner and principal of the Patriots, was no doubt delighted to have a coach with Simmons’ resume, which includes former West Indies opener, as well as former Zimbabwe and Ireland coach, to the franchise.
“We expect that Phil’s experience and local knowledge will help the Patriots achieve improved performances in our 2017 CPL campaign, and will bring the ultimate success that our fans and sponsors deserve,” he said.
The Patriots owner described Simmons as “the right coaching choice at this very crucial time in the development of our franchise”.
The Patriots participated in the CPL for the first time last year, effectively replacing the Antigua & Barbuda Hawksbills, and play their home games at Warner Park in the St Kitts capital.