All-rounders will play crucial role: Phil Simmons (Interview, World Cup Countdown)

By Abhishek Roy, IANS
Wednesday, February 16, 2011

NEW DELHI - Ireland coach and former West Indies cricketer Phil Simmons feels that all-rounders will play a decisive role in the World Cup.

The 47-year-old Trinidadian said all-rounders play a pivotal role in all forms of cricket, more so in the World Cup.

“All-rounders are important in all forms of the game and in the World Cup they can be game changers. Teams that have good all-rounders can add an extra batsman or a bowler in the eleven,” Simmons, himself an explosive all-rounder, told IANS over phone from Nagpur.

Simmons picked up Abdul Razzaq, Shane Watson and Yuvraj Singh as the all-rounders to watch out for in the World Cup.

“Razzaq, Yuvraj and Shane will be the all-rounders who can destroy any team if you give them an inch. I think these three players will be crucial to Pakistan, Australia and India’s chances of making the semi-finals. They will not only add depth to the team’s batting, but will also allow their captains to strengthen the bowling as well,” he said.

Asked about West Indies’ Chris Gayle, Simmons said: “The cricket world is well aware of his destructive nature. But the problem about Gayle is that he is not consistent. Much will depend on Gayle, if West Indies are to make at least the quarterfinals stage.”

Simmons, who made his debut in the 1987 World Cup in the sub-continent, knows conditions here will be challenging for Ireland, who shocked Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean, on way to the second round.

“Playing in the sub-continent is always challenging. But I have always enjoyed playing here. I still remember the 1987 World Cup. In my debut match I hit 50 in Lahore, but lost to Pakistan by one run. It wasn’t a memorable World Cup for us. Playing in the sub-continent is a tough job and you need patience,” said Simmons.

Though not expecting Ireland to create another shock this time, Simmons is confident that the Irish won’t be pushovers either.

“I am not expecting anything from Ireland. We had an advantage in 2007 since we were an unknown entity. This time it would be tough, but I can tell you we won’t be pushovers either,” said Simmons.

He knows that it will be tough for Ireland as they are in a group that comprises favourites India, South Africa, England, West Indies, the Netherlands and Bangladesh.

“We are in a tough group and we have prepared hard. We know it won’t be easy for us and we have to play hard cricket. We have a balanced squad and the players have a fair experience of playing at the international level. We can’t be thinking of results. We have to take one match at a time. We have to just give our best on the very day and results will be taken care of,” he said.

Simmons also said that home conditions will make India the favourites, but it won’t be easy for them.

“India surely are the favourites. They have a strong batting line-up and the advantage of home conditions. But it won’t be easy for them,” he said.

Asked if the Indian Premier League (IPL) has robbed India of the home advantage, Simmons said: “Not exactly. Because even before the IPL, a lot of international cricket was being played and players had a fair knowledge of the conditions. It is good to have the knowledge, but tough to implement it.”

(Abhishek Roy can be contacted at

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