West Indies have named former opening batsman Phil Simmons as their head coach on a three-year contract, the West Indies Cricket Board said on Friday.
Simmons, 51, will take charge of the team for next month`s three-test home series against England facing the huge task of returning the once dominant force in world cricket to the top of the international game.
"We are thrilled with the appointment of Phil and we believe he is the right individual for our team and our region at this time, so we want to welcome him back home," WICB chief executive officer Michael Muirhead said in a statement.
“Phil has a proven ability to develop players, while cultivating great team spirit and a winning culture. We have a number of young, talented players about whom he is excited to be coaching and we believe he is the right fit.”
West Indies, managed by former captain Richie Richardson, play co-hosts New Zealand in the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.
Trinidadian Simmons, who played 26 tests and 143 one-day internationals for West Indies between 1987 and 1999, has coached Ireland since 2007 following a spell in charge of Zimbabwe.
“West Indies have a tremendous history and prestige in the game and I am honoured to have been given this opportunity to be Head Coach,” Simmons said.
“There is an abundance of young talent coming through the ranks and to be able to assist with the development of the future playing talent in the West Indies is fantastic. I can’t wait to begin and I am looking forward to starting work with the players.”
West Indies won the first two World Cups in 1975 and 1979 and under the captaincy of Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards became the dominant side in test and one-day cricket in the 1980s and early 1990s.
They have struggled to maintain that success, however, and are currently ranked eighth in the world in both formats of the game.