(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Former Windies all-rounder Phil Simmons has been named as Afghanistan’s new head coach after Lalchand Rajput had left the position vacant, having served only three months. Simmons, who has previously coached Ireland and Windies, had also interviewed for the position of Bangladesh head coach after Chandika Hathurusingha left midway through his tenure that originally ran until the 2019 World Cup.
The 54-year-old, after his retirement in 2002, cut his teeth in coaching with a job at Zimbabwe. However, difficult times during which the team slipped to newer lows, saw him removed from that position. Simmons, though, redeemed himself through a successful coaching stint with Ireland, having taken over at the conclusion of the 2007 World Cup. Having coached in 224 matches, Simmons became the longest serving coach in international cricket.
After holding the top spot at Ireland for nearly eight years, Simmons returned to coach his native West Indies, a period that saw the team lifting its second World T20 trophy.
Simmons’s first assignment as Afghanistan coach will the two-match T20I series against Zimbabwe, followed by a five-match ODI series, in Sharjah. Afghanistan will then head to Zimbabwe to take part in the World Cup Qualifiers in March. Sometime later in the year they are likely to play their first ever Test, against India.
Simmons had a small stint at Afghanistan as a consultant earlier in 2017. He was also the head coach of St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots during the 2017 edition of the Caribbean Premier League.