The West

Scorchers pace options fall by wayside
Ryan Duffield. Pic: WA News

Yasir Arafat is in but in doubt.

Pat Cummins and Alfonso Thomas are wanted but out.

Nathan Coulter-Nile is wanted even more but in doubt.

And Ryan Duffield will be out for months.

As Perth Scorchers coach Justin Langer prepares to take his Champions League squad to India next month, identifying his preferred pace attack has proved a big challenge.

And that task got tougher on Wednesday when Duffield, the bullocking left-armer, tore a hamstring tendon so badly that he may not play before the new year.

Perth could not consider Cummins, the young tearaway who helped the Scorchers win the Big Bash League, after his IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders co-opted his services.

The WACA will receive $200,000 compensation for Cummins' absence but will not be able to replace his speed and subtlety with new and old ball.

Coulter-Nile is capable of matching Cummins' impact and he has recovered well enough from hamstring surgery two months ago to be named in the Scorchers squad. But he is not guaranteed to travel to India, and given Cricket Australia's interest in him as a likely one-day international this summer, he may be kept in cottonwool until the home season.

"We will give him until the very last day," Langer said. "Coults is a key player but is still 50-50."

Arafat yesterday re-signed with the Scorchers for the next Big Bash and will take part at the Champions League if he can get a visa in time.

But Somerset again refused to release seamer Thomas.

Perth have had limited luck with their internationals at the lucrative tournament.

Herschelle Gibbs, who just survived an attempt to sack him, proved a major distraction during the disastrous event in South Africa two years ago. No overseas player was part of the campaign last year.

Perth's need for power hitters at the top of the order means Craig Simmons is a mandatory selection this time around despite his move to the Adelaide Strikers on a three-year deal worth at least $400,000.

Mitch Marsh will also return to the team and his likely position in the top four. His impact as a first-choice seamer may allow Perth to play an extra spinner in most games.

Veteran Brad Hogg was squeezed from the team in last year's tournament when Marsh's absence with a hamstring injury forced Perth to rejig their line-up.

Hogg's success in the Caribbean Premier League this winter prompted Langer to give the 43-year-old another season in the Big Bash.

"Hoggy's energy and impact are impossible to manufacture and he brings so much atmosphere to the team," Langer said.

The squad will have a camp in Brisbane next week before travelling to the first match in Chandigarh next month.

  • Likely Champions League squad: *Adam Voges (capt.), Ashton Agar, Yasir Arafat, Tim Armstrong, Michael Beer, Jason Behrendorff, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Brad Hogg, Mitch Marsh, Joel Paris, Craig Simmons, Ashton Turner, Sam Whiteman.

Coults is a key player but is still 50-50." *Justin Langer *

The West Australian

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