Three years after controversial exit, Phil Simmons returns to coach West Indies

Head coach Phil Simmons keeps things light during Afghanistan training Peter Della Penna

Controversially sacked after winning the 2016 T20 World Cup with West Indies, Phil Simmons will make a return as head coach of the team. His appointment was confirmed for a four-year spell by the Cricket West Indies board of directors on Monday. CWI also announced three new selection panels, for the men's, women's and girls', and the boys' teams.

Simmons had sued the board, under Dave Cameron at the time, for unfair dismissal and earlier this year accepted an apology and an undisclosed amount that brought the case to an end. The former West Indies opening batsman last served as the coach of Afghanistan until the recent World Cup, and on Sunday won the 2019 CPL coaching the Barbados Tridents. Before that, Simmons coached Ireland between 2007 and 2015, helping them qualify for three straight World Cups.

"Bringing Phil Simmons back is not just righting a past wrong, but I am confident that CWI has chosen the right man for the job at the right time," CWI president Ricky Skerritt said. "I want to also thank the very talented Floyd Reifer for the hard work he put in while he was the interim coach."

Reifer was one of three men shortlisted two weeks ago for the role alongside Simmons and Desmond Haynes. West Indies had been without a full-time coach since the CWI management led by Skerritt ended Richard Pybus' stint in April this year - just weeks before the World Cup - following a review of the team's coaching and selection policies. Reifer had been at the helm since.

CWI's director of cricket Jimmy Adams, who was also one of the members on the interview panel, said: "I am happy, after a very robust recruitment process at the appointment of Phil to the role of Head Coach. I have no doubt that Phil brings the requisite leadership skills and experience needed to drive improvement across our international squads and I look forward to supporting him in the role."

That the position would go to a West Indian was made clear by the board before the selection process even began. They had said in September that "persons without West Indian heritage need not apply" for the role.

A CWI panel interviewed six candidates which were later shortlisted to three.

The new selection panel for the men's team includes Roger Harper (lead selector) and Miles Bascombe; the women's and girl's panel includes Ann Browne-John (lead selector) and Travis Dowlin, and the boys' panel comprises Haynes.

The selection panels will get to work immediately with the men's team scheduled to play Afghanistan in India in November and the women's team set to host India for three ODIs and five T20Is starting November 1. The Under-19 team will host a tri-series with Sri Lanka and England in December in the lead up to the Under-19 World Cup in January in South Africa.