Bengaluru, March 3: Phil Simmons insists that leading Afghanistan to the 2019 World Cup and not exacting revenge over his West Indies compatriots is his priority when the 10-team qualifying tournament gets underway on Sunday in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Simmons, who played 26 Tests and 143 ODIs for the West Indies from 1987 to 1999, was sacked as coach of the Caribbean side in 2016, just five months after leading it to the World Twenty20 title in India.
His sacking had been preceded by a suspension the previous year for publicly criticising the West Indies selection policy.
Simmons, 54, took over the reins of Afghanistan in December and his mission to get the newly-minted Test team to a second successive World Cup in England and Wales next year.
Afghanistan takes on Scotland in its opening match at Bulawayo on Sunday with Simmons playing down his team's status as one of the favourites to reach the finals.
"I am not putting the 'favourites' tag on me. We have just come here to play cricket, we need to play proper cricket and win this tournament," said Simmons who has plenty of 'inside knowledge' of his opponents in the three-week qualifying event.