London [UK], July 2 (ANI): Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Ricky Skerritt said the current head coach, Phil Simmons, has 'full backing' of the CWI after a board member called for the 'immediate removal' of Simmons.
Simmons had temporarily left the team's bio-secure bubble in Manchester to attend a family funeral after which Conde Riley, a board member of the CWI, described the coach's behaviour as 'inconsiderate and reckless' while demanding the sacking of Simmons, ESPNCricinfo had reported.
"I want to assure West Indies cricket fans that Phil Simmons still has the full backing of CWI, no matter what has been said. When all is said and done, Phil's job is not in any way threatened by that letter," ESPNcricinfo quoted Skerritt as saying.
Simmons said there was no question of him not going to the funeral as his family needed support.
"There was no question of me not going to the funeral. It is a very, very hard time for us. My wife, my daughters and my son needed that support. This has not been an easy time for my family. My wife was very close to her father and his passing has hurt us. All the guys [in the West Indies touring party] have been very close to me. It won't disrupt us. It will just make us a little stronger going into the Test series," he said.
"Family is a huge thing or me. It's the same thing we're trying to build here and everyone is supporting everyone. If someone wants to try and use that against me, all well and good. If that is to break up the camp and change our focus, that hasn't worked. I had to do what is right for my family, just as I will do what is right for CWI for the rest of the series," Simmons added.
When Simmons had gone out to attend the funeral, CWI had confirmed that the head coach had sought permission from the cricket board.
"The entire process of his exit and re-entry to the bio-secure location was approved and managed by the medical teams of the CWI and the ECB and strictly followed protocols set up prior to the tour which addressed such scenarios," the statement had said.
Simmons has subsequently remained in isolation at the team hotel and been tested twice for coronavirus, with both tests returning negative.
Skerritt said Simmons is the 'best man' for the job.
"He went through a very vigorous recruitment process nine months ago and was the best man we could have found for the job. He's still the best man. I'm confident the people of the Caribbean have already thrown their support behind Phil and will continue to do so. Phil is the right man at the right time,' he said.
West Indies are currently gearing up for the three-match Test series against England, starting July 8. (ANI)