Simmons signs three-year deal with Strikers
Craig Simmons has followed up his breakout Big Bash League last summer by signing a three-year contract with the Adelaide Strikers, leaving the title-holding Perth Scorchers "shocked and disappointed" at his departure.
A fringe state cricketer for most of his career, 31-year-old Simmons moved from New South Wales to Perth and rode a torrent of club runs into the Scorchers' squad, where he twice clattered centuries in 2013-14 to help the Western Australian side to their first silverware.
However those performances made him an attractive option to other teams, and the Strikers have taken advantage of their greater salary-cap room to land Simmons in a contract thought to be worth six figures over each of the next three seasons.
"No other player managed a century in BBL 03 and Simmons did it twice. Simmons is a genuine hitter of the ball and an exciting talent," the Strikers coach Darren Berry said. "He knows what it takes to win a BBL final and we can't wait to see what he can do at Adelaide Oval."
Berry's words contrasted with those of the Perth coach Justin Langer, who had overseen his side's 2014 tournament win only to now be wrestling with increased payment and contract demands from his successful squad.
"He was a bit of a pin-up boy for us," Langer said. "My reaction was one of great 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.
"That said, I've been saying since day 1 in this job that one of the main foundations of our cricket going forward is club cricket. If we take something from this: it's very exciting to see West Australian cricketers like Craig doing so well for the Scorchers and it's enabled him to have another opportunity and, while we'd love to still have him at the Scorchers, it's now time to find the next Craig Simmons out of West Australian cricket."
The Strikers announced Simmons' signature on the day the South Australian Cricket Association chief executive Keith Bradshaw and president Andrew Sinclair were due to meet members of Cricket Australia's integrity unit as investigations continued into the state's BBL recruiting.
Jamie Cox was sacked from his role as the SACA's cricket supremo on Friday after CA informed the state that it was under investigation for possible breaches of contracting regulations.