Scorchers burnt as Simmons cashes in

Perth Scorchers hero Craig Simmons has cashed in on his explosive Big Bash League performances last summer by signing a long-term deal with Adelaide Strikers.

Perth coach Justin Langer last night described his reaction as "shock and disappointment" at Simmons' decision to accept a three-year deal with the Strikers.

"He was a bit of a pin-up boy for us," Langer said.

"My reaction was one of shock and, of course, disappointment.

"Craig Simmons is a fantastic bloke and a fantastic West Australian and he was one of the stories of the year of our BBL win last year."

Simmons, who scored two blazing centuries to help Perth secure WA's first cricket title in a decade, was lured away from his home State by the prospect of a hefty pay rise and a longer deal than the WACA was prepared to offer.

The 31-year-old Western Power apprentice is likely to earn at least $100,000 a season with Adelaide and also remains eligible for Perth's campaign in the lucrative Champions League.

Simmons would not confirm his move last night, but said he had not signed with the Scorchers.

Adelaide have significant salary cap room despite veteran Brad Hodge also joining the franchise for the upcoming summer.

Top-order batsmen Callum Ferguson and Nathan Reardon have departed, while it is unlikely that Michael Klinger will be at the Strikers next season after South Australia released him with a year to go on his State contract. He will play for the Warriors for the next two seasons.

Simmons was one of the BBL's greatest success stories after being plucked from club cricket with Rockingham-Mandurah.

He thumped 102 from just 41 balls against the Strikers at the WACA Ground to reignite a career that had stalled during several stuttering Sheffield Shield starts for WA and NSW.

The left-hander then improved on that effort with 112 in the semifinal against the Sydney Sixers to steer Perth into their third consecutive grand final.

He added 45 against Hobart in the match Perth won comfortably to annex WA's first silverware since 2003-04.

Langer said he hoped other WA players would be inspired by Simmons, who used several seasons of outstanding club form to force his Scorchers call-up.

"Over the last couple of years in club cricket, he's been the outstanding performer," Langer said.

"That's why he was a bit of a pin-up boy for us and we were being true to what we were saying in rewarding performance.

"Hopefully people will take great encouragement from the Craig Simmons story of last year." DID YOU KNOW? 102 How many runs Craig Simmons scored from 41 balls against the Strikers last season

The West Australian

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