Phil Simmons says he will step down as Afghanistan’s head coach after World Cup

Afghanistan head coach Phil Simmons reveals he was not consulted before captaincy changes (Source: PTI)

Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) will have to find a new head coach for the national team with Phil Simmons announcing that he will step down from the post after the World Cup 2019. Simmons, who took up the mantle of coaching Afghanistan in December 2017, said he feels it’s right for him to leave.

"I have thought about it and I have actually given the ACB my notice that I will not be renewing my contract. I will move on to something different once my contract expires on July 15," Simmons told ESPNcricinfo.

The 56-year-old’s contract, which ends after the World Cup, was likely to be renewed by ACB owing to Afghanistan’s meteoric rise in the past few years. He said that he had signed up originally just for 18 months and it was time to move on to something new.

"I signed up originally for 18 months and I think I have done a lot in this period. It is time for me to move on to something else now. To want to get to the World Cup – that was ACB’s goal at the time they appointed me," Simmons said.

"My goal is always to leave things better than when I joined: the way we practice, the way we think about the game, the way we assess other teams. I’ve tried to help the players in all those areas," he said.

Simmons also revealed that he was not consulted with before ACB’s controversial decision to appoint Gulbadin Naib as ODI captain replacing Asghar Afghan. The decision was criticised by many, including Afghan spin duo Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi.

"No, I was not aware of it. I was not given any reasons. It was the decision of the Afghanistan Cricket Board and the selectors," Simmons said.

"How can I take it? I can’t change it. So I have to just get on with what I have to do and make sure the squad is preparing in the same way I wanted them to prepare barring the (captaincy) change," he said.

Afghanistan have a tough World Cup ahead, and start off their campaign against five-time World Cup winners Australia, who are one of the favourites to win the tournament. They will also play Pakistan and England in warm-up games on May 24 and May 27 respectively.

with inputs from PTI