IPL a huge advantage for West Indies: Coach Simmons

Mumbai, March 17 (IANS) Following a six-wicket win over England in their World Twenty20 clash, West Indies coach Phil Simmons has said the Windies cricketers’ participation in the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) was a huge advantage for them in getting used to the playing conditions in India.

Batting first, England on Wednesday posted 182/6 in 20 overs, thanks to Joe Root’s 48.

In reply, Chris Gayle struck five boundaries and 11 massive sixes in his 48-ball unbeaten ton to take his side to victory. The West Indies scored 183/4 in 18.1 overs.

“IPL … it’s a huge advantage … because the good thing about it is that the first two grounds we play at (Kolkata and Mumbai), we have three players here (Mumbai) and the next one is Chris’s home ground (Bengaluru). I think it is a huge advantage for us,” Simmons said at the post-match press conference at the Wankhede Stadium here.

Asked what advice he would pass on to Gayle, the coach said: “I think it is as simple as you see it because as you know this (is) the first time I am with T20 team since I am back, sitting and talking to him and trying to see how he works it out, and it is as simple as he makes it look out there.”

“He actually analyses it as simple as he does it so… he practises hard, he hits a lot of balls in the nets, but he works it out as he did today (Wednesday). (Adil) Rashid is my bowler for the day and I am going to take him down… so it’s as simple as that.”

Simmons said Gayle can surely be placed alongside batting great Vivian Richards considering his ability to destroy an attack.

“Comparing with legends… to destroy and attack like that the only person I would put him with is Vivian (Richards), because Vivian used to go out there and destroy attacks. I think he (Gayle) is the player… the way he tears apart the attack,” he said.

Top order batsman Marlon Samuels (37 off 27) also played a crucial role against England alongside Gayle and Simmons credited Samuels for setting up the game and taking the pressure off Gayle.

“We all talk about Chris (Gayle) today, but Marlon (Samules) set up the game today, nicely first, because the way he played, he took a lot of the pressure off Chris,” he said.

“That’s the way have been trying to get him to play because when he plays like that he is a class act, and if we can get him to play like that in every match, he might get off in every match, but he will get some 70s-80s also and he will win games for us and he has to be commended today, the way he took the pressure off Chris early,” Simmons observed.

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