Fight for pace slots excites bowling coach Simons

“You can see the competition going within the present lot,” the Protean pointed ahead of India’s optional practice session here on Thursday. “It is a good situation to be in. It is a good sign that a couple of bowlers are competing against each other.

“You do not want all the bowlers who swing the ball away or four left-handed bowlers. You need to make sure the players who complement each other and back each other and assess who will be the bowlers to perform under pressure in the World Cup on home stage.”

Simons was particularly impressed with off-spinner R Ashwin. “He has been very courageous,” noted the former South African coach. “We talked about the length and the pace he bowls.

“It is very, very useful particularly for us as we need a bowler who bowls well during Power Plays. It is important for any captain to have options. Obviously, Ashwin’s ability to have some variations in his bowling is the key factor in the slog overs. I think he is moving forward with each performance.”

‘Incredible’

Simons termed Yusuf Pathan’s 96-ball 123 in Bangalore as one of the more ‘incredible’ one-day innings he had seen. “A lot of people talk about Yusuf’s power but what excited me more was what he did in between the boundary shots.

“That was something added to his repertoire and that does augur well for him as a number seven. Yusuf Pathan has enormous favour in selection for the World Cup.

“The batsmen are putting their hands up as are the bowlers. It is very exciting for coaches and selectors.”

Simons also had a word of encouragement for Yuvraj Singh, who has failed to build on starts. “He was under pressure the other day (in Bangalore) but his shot selection was very good.

“I am quite happy with the way he played, he was striking the ball pretty well. It shows that he is batting with confidence.”

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