Movement in the air could cost Australia the Ashes November 1, 2006

Simpson says England on a winner with swing

Cricinfo staff

Bob Simpson believes Australia's Kookaburra balls move more than those used in England © Getty Images

The former Australian coach Bob Simpon said England's ability to swing the ball could be the trump card that helps them retain the Ashes in Australia. Simpson believes a lack of quality swing bowlers around the world - including in Australia - has reduced batsmen's ability to counter the tactic.

He said nobody should assume the ball will fail to move under Australian conditions. "If England swings the ball as much as they did in England, and quite frankly I think the ball swings more out here anyway, they are going to be very, very tough to beat," Simpson told AAP. "I think the ball swings more out here, always has.

"The Kookaburra ball is more conducive to swing bowling than any ball in the world. The English balls always have a thick lacquer over it and you have to wait a few overs for the lacquer to go because of the dampness over there."

Australia's batsmen had trouble handling the reverse-swing of the England bowlers during last year's Ashes series and Simpson puts the problem down to a focus on express pace rather than movement in the air. "I have been writing for the last six or seven years of the need to get more [Australian] bowlers bowling swing," he said. "Like the rest of the world, the Australian batsmen do not play the moving ball well."

Simpson said promoting Mitchell Johnson to the Test team would be a positive step for Australia. "I am all for giving youth a chance, one of the disappointing things is that youngsters who have been given opportunities have not taken the chance and it would be great [if he did]," he said. "We need the younger guys coming through to push the older guys into greater effort and if Mitchell Johnson can come through that is a huge bonus."