West Indies fast bowling great Courtney Walsh has questioned Australia’s new pace obsession leading into this week’s opening Test in Hobart.
Walsh, the fifth all-time leading Test wicket-taker with 519 and second only to Glenn McGrath as most prolific paceman, said he was surprised by Australia’s wisdom of opting for those who bowl at speeds of above 140kph (87 mph).
Australia’s chief selector Rod Marsh used the reasoning last week in choosing Nathan Coulter-Nile in the squad for the first Test despite not having played a four-day game since March.
Walsh, who once featured in a dominant Windies attack that at times unleashed at least four lightning quicks, said he would not attempt to rejuvenate his team’s ailing Test hopes by adopting Australia’s approach.
“I think you have to play your best bowlers, if they happen to be quick then fine,” Walsh, a selector, told reporters in Hobart late Sunday.
“But I wouldn’t be just selecting four bowlers just because they can bowl at 140kph — maybe one or two.
“But you still want someone who can hit the right areas. It’s about getting the right combination together.”
That appears a challenge for the Windies attack after they were outclassed by a young Cricket Australia XI batting line-up in their embarrassing 10-wicket tour loss in Brisbane over the weekend.
But Walsh backed Windies captain Jason Holder’s call that their bowlers could exploit Australia’s batting “weaknesses”.
“I think so. If we play to our true potential, and our batsmen settle and make a decent score, it will be a very, very interesting series,” he said.
“I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag but I am happy that they see weaknesses and I agree that there are weaknesses (in the Australian line-up).
“It’s about zeroing in on them and executing. I hope to see that in Hobart.”