ST JOHN'S–Former West Indies captain and legendary batsman, Sir Vivian Richards, has called for those charged with the responsibility of moving West Indies cricket forward to rally around new coach Phil Simmons.
The call came ahead of Monday's start of the first Test against England at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.
"I beg for him to get the necessary support from all the various departments that are involved and if that can be done and the players buy into what I think he is trying to achieve–because all coaches try to achieve the things that can help you to be successful–and I guess he won't be any different," he said.
Simmons is in his first match as coach of the West Indies cricket team after being appointed last month.
Sir Viv went on to speak on the recent issues affecting West Indies cricket and the need for a better understanding by players as to what it means to represent the regional squad.
"When you are looking for success as a collective unit, it is very untimely for these things to happen especially when you are involved in that team environment.
"There is a lot of work that needs to be done in terms of the camaraderie that breathes success but there is a duty as players in terms of what they are representing; the package of the region itself that comes into play but I just believe at times, that has become pretty negative," he said.
Also calling for support for Simmons was legendary fast bowler Curtly Ambrose, who is the team's bowling coach and who recently launched his autobiography "Time To Talk'. Ambrose has urged the West Indies Cricket Board to give total support to Simmons, and allow him as much control over the team as possible. "I hope they give him the players he wants," said Ambrose. "If he gets that support, I'm sure he will turn around the fortunes of the West Indies team."
The West Indies enter the third day of the first of three Tests against England at 155�4, after bowling England out for 399.