West Indies coach Phil Simmons admitted yesterday that his decision to ban popular cricket commentator Mohammed from interviewing the regional players prior to the start of the second Test against Australia in Melbourne a few days ago, may have been a bit harsh, but he had to do it to protect his players.
His comments totally contradict a report by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) on Tuesday which stated that there was no ban on Mohammed. According to the report by the WICB management, "the team fully appreciates and understands the importance of the media towards providing information on the game as well as the growth and development of the sport."
But yesterday on i95.5FM radio programme Simmons said he does not hold grudges and will approach Mohammed, whom he has known from Under-19 cricket, to tell him how he feels about what had transpired and sort things out.
Simmons was slighted by comments made by Mohammed that his team was not training with the amount of intensity as their opponents the Australians.
Mohammed, who works as a radio commentator for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), was immediately barred from conducting interviews after Simmons contacted producer of the ABC commentary team Adam White to inform him that he did not want Mohammed to interview any member of the West Indies team.
Simmons explained that he reacted to what he considered to be misleading information by Mohammed to the Caribbean public about his team's preparation which was compared to Australia's.
According to Simmons, he felt that Mohammed had a responsibility to provide information in Australia as it regards the team back to the Caribbean, but he felt that the comments by Mohammed had instead been irresponsible as it did not reflect exactly what was happening with the team.
He explained that Mohammed attended one of three days of training yet made comments to generalise on the overall training of the team.
"On day one we did batting for about an hour and the day before we did bowling and fielding, but Mohammed was not there those days," Simmons explained.
He noted that the players have been working really hard to improve their performances and to hear Mohammed in an interview described the training as not intensive as the Australians was unfair.
"Mohammed did not even ask a question about what was going on and why. He had Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose and myself there to ask, but he refused to ask a question and rather give his own opinion," Simmons said.
Mohammed's comments have had a negative impact on the players going into the second Test which the regional team lost by 177 runs. However, Simmons has said that he has seen some fight in the players in the batting and bowling areas.
"In the first Test they struggled to make 200 runs and also bowled 14 no balls. In the second Test we were on target with the amount of runs we wanted in the first session, but we did not carry on," Simmons explained.
The West Indies will face their Australian counterparts in the third Test from Saturday in Sydney and Simmons is expecting to see an improved performance.
He said he will see Mohammed during the training session where he intends to talk to him.