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Ireland cricketers deserve to be at World Cup, says Phil Simmons

By Ian Callender

Phil Simmons has left his role as Ireland Head Coach urging the ICC to abandon their plans for a 10-team World Cup in 2019.

Simmons, who takes up a three-year contract as coach of West Indies next week, said it would be "unbelievable" if Ireland weren't involved in the next World Cup finals in England.

"There shouldn't be a World Cup without Associates, and no disrespect to the others, but definitely not one without Ireland.

"I would hope ICC reassess because some of the best games at this World Cup have been played by the Associates. Other sports have at least 20 teams so why can't cricket have 14 teams regularly," said Simmons.

"We were saying the same at the end of the 2011 World Cup (when the plan was to go to 10 teams) and the pressure wasn't half as much then as it is now so I hope they reverse their decision and there will be 14 teams in the next World Cup."

The West Indian admitted that "going home" was his only reason for quitting the Ireland job which he has held for the last eight years, but it wasn't a foregone conclusion.

"It was still a tough decision, Simmons told The Slog Sweep. "I had to deal with my family who live in London and that's a big part. But it was the call that West Indies needed. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for West Indies cricket so I had to go and give back something."

The absence of young pace bowlers Craig Young and Peter Chase in all of Ireland's six line-ups was the biggest talking point at the World Cup, but Simmons insists they will be a big part of Ireland's future.

"Chase and Young are going to be international bowlers, Andrew Balbirnie has pushed himself into the ranks and (without naming anyone else) other youngsters need the experience," said the outgoing coach.

"The players' attitude was superb throughout, fronting up to those big games. We left saying we needed to win three games and that's what we did. We just didn't allow for Pakistan beating South Africa.

"The West Indies game was massive. We knew we had to win the first game because it was the catalyst for the rest of the tournament. But you always have a chance - and I shouldn't be saying this - against West Indies early on and we took our chance."

Looking ahead, Simmons added: "I know if West Indies come here it will not be a walkover, it will be taken very seriously and it would be delight for me to bring my team here."

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