Simmons was fired at the end of the two-match Test series against New Zealand in Bulawayo and replaced by former Zimbabwe all-rounder Kevin Curran. He was initially set for re-assignment within Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) before being told his contract was being terminated.
In a petition addressed to ZC chairman Peter Chingoka, the 30 players said the decision to fire Simmons was 'unjust, unfair and not in the best interests of Zimbabwe cricket'.
We the undersigned players, have heard that the ZC have decided to unilaterally terminate the contract of Phil Simmons as national coach. We respectfully request and petition ZC to reconsider this decision, for the following reasons,'' said the players' statement.
We believe Phil still has much to offer ZC as national coach, and we feel the decision to terminate his employment is unjust and unfair and is not in the best interests of Zimbabwe cricket.
A number of factors have affected our ability to perform as a unit. So it would not be right to make Phil the scapegoat.
Phil knows a great deal about the game, and has taught us much in a short period. We therefore have faith in him and believe that Phil has a great awareness of the current squad of players as individuals, therefore we still believe he has the best chance to position the national team to win games in the future.
We therefore believe Phil Simmons is the right person to continue as national coach and to take the team to India.
Please may we urge you as concerned players who want the best for Zimbabwe cricket to reconsider your decision to terminate Phil's employment.''