Selectors raised eyebrows when they ignored the claims of Sheffield Shield leading wicket-taker Jackson Bird in favour of the underdone Nathan Coulter-Nile’s speed for next week’s first Test in Hobart.
Australian chairman of selectors Rod Marsh has made no secret of their preference for pacemen who can reach the 140kph mark and beyond.
It ensured Coulter-Nile got a nod over form Shield seamers Bird, Chad Sayers and Joe Mennie, despite not playing a first class match since March – a call Victoria coach David Saker described as “ridiculous”.
But Simmons backed Australia’s controversial plan, despite his inexperienced side appearing poised to cop the brunt of it.
Former allrounder Simmons featured in the mighty Windies’ remarkable 15-year unbeaten Test run, which boasted at times a fearsome four-pronged pace attack led by greats Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh.
Simmons said seamer Peter Siddle was an exception to Australia’s rule, but could see no problem with Marsh’s controversial stand.
“Peter Siddle is showing you that (you don’t have to bowl at 140kph),” he said.
“But for me it’s a good policy.
“If I have three of them (140kph-plus bowlers), I know that I’m up there and I’m giving them trouble.
“Batsmen don’t like it most of the time.
“So if I was them and I had three quicks, I would be trying to do that too – I like the policy.”
How Simmons must wish he could unleash a similar attack in the first Test starting in Hobart on December 10.
Shannon Gabriel is considered the Windies’ fastest, comfortably shattering the 140kph mark, but has just 33 scalps from 15 Tests at 37.03, with a best of 3-10.
The attack is led by the impressive Jerome Taylor (128 Test wickets at 32.99), who is being rested for their sole tour match ahead of the first Test – this week’s clash with a Cricket Australia XI in Brisbane.
He will share the new ball in Hobart with Kemar Roach, who famously made Ricky Ponting retire hurt at the WACA six years ago.
But Roach is yet to rediscover his 150kph speed since an ankle injury and serious car accident last year.
As a result, the Windies have battled with the ball in their Brisbane tour match.
Ahead of day-three action on Friday, CA XI are 4-245, holding a two-run first innings lead.
But Simmons did not believe it was a risk to rest strike bowler Taylor from their sole tour match ahead of the opening Test.
“It’s more about getting him right and making sure that when we start in Hobart that he’s ready because he’s our spearhead,” he said.
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