West Indies coach Phil Simmons has laid out a solid statement after reports surfaced of a rift within the white-ball squad led by Kieron Pollard.
Simmons' comments came hours after Cricket West Indies (CWI) President Ricky Skerritt also supported skipper Kieron Pollard, saying the reports of a rift were an attempt to malign the image of Pollard.
It all started after reports surfaced that Odean Smith was victimised after the all-rounder was benched for Rovman Powell in the third T20I against England.
"For me, that can't happen when I'm here. You don't victimise anyone. You don't try to pull down anyone. You try to make players a better person first of all, and a better cricketer afterwards. In my coaching career and even in my playing career, you look to help the man next to you. And that's one thing I've been preaching in this team, and in all the teams that I've dealt with. So, there is no such thing as victimisation here and there will be none as long as I'm around," ESPNcricinfo quoted Simmons as saying.
Smith had played in the first two T20Is of the five-match series. He bowled just one over in the first T20I and was not called on to bowl in the second.
"I think you're going down the wrong line with this. Let me explain something to you, and I'm saying it again. We need to stop this foolishness that we're going on with. We sit down and we look at the best team for the day. And if Odean wasn't in the best team for the day, it is because we thought that Rovman was better suited for yesterday," said Simmons.
"All those who want to sit out there and preach about victimisation, I think they need to look within themselves. There's no victimisation in selection in West Indies cricket, and there's no victimisation in this team in playing anyone. So we need to start stepping away from that and letting the people who are pushing this know that that's not happening. I'm not going to be answering any more questions about things like that," he added.
After the ongoing T20I series against England, West Indies will lock horns against India in three ODIs and three T20Is, beginning February 6. (ANI)