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Missed ‘gamble’ that could haunt Australia

Unleashing Western Australian speed demon Lance Morris in Adelaide would have been “the gambling position to take” and selectors “should have taken that opportunity”, according to Ian Chappell.

The former Test captain has swiped Australia for picking the safer options of Scott Boland and Michael Neser for the second match against the West Indies, after being forced to call upon depth following injuries to Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.

Enticed by a nine-wicket match haul in the Sheffield Shield and an onslaught of 150km/h-plus thunderbolts, Australia’s selectors added Morris to the squad for the Adelaide Test after Cummins succumbed to a quad injury.

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But Boland replaced Cummins and Neser filled in for Hazlewood as Australia thrashed the West Indies by 419 runs.

Chappell revealed his disagreement with the snubbing of Morris ahead of the first Test between Australia and South Africa in Brisbane, set to begin on Saturday.

“You’ve got to find out if blokes can do it at Test level,” Chappell told Wide World of Sports.

“Now, you know whoever you pick is probably going to do all right against the West Indies because they’re not very good.

“But to me, there was an opportunity to have a look at Morris in Adelaide and I’m surprised that they didn’t. To me that would have been the positive and the gambling position to take, but they didn’t take it .

“Now, I mean, you play Neser, you play Boland, it doesn’t matter against (the West Indies).

“You had an opportunity to play Morris and find out what he could do at Test level. So I think they should have taken that opportunity.”

Morris, 24, has taken 59 first-class wickets at the average of 25.08 and strike-rate of 41.2.

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The right-armer had New South Wales in ruins during a Sheffield Shield match in October, which saw him capture five wickets in the first innings and four scalps in the third.

Arguably Australia’s greatest fast bowler in history, Dennis Lillee, has offered Morris some mentoring.

“I said to him, ‘You’ve got a good future in this game if you work hard at it’,” Lillee told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age this month.

Morris could be used in next year’s Ashes tour as a counterattack to Jofra Archer, the right-arm England quick who peaks at 150km/h and beyond.

“If they’d found out that Morris has got a chance at Test level (in Adelaide) then you might have had him ready for this Brisbane Test,” Chappell said.

“You play either Neser or you play Boland, you’re not going to be embarrassed; they’re both going to do a decent job.

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“But the thing about Morris is he’s got genuine pace and there’s not a hell of a lot of those bokes around.

“And as Andy Roberts said, the great fast bowler from the West Indies, you’ve got to play blokes while they’re still fast. So, if they’re fast, play them.

“I know he’s very fast and I know what experience I had with fast bowlers.

“So, therefore, I thought that he should have been given an opportunity.”

Cummins will return for the Gabba Test but Hazlewood remains unavailable due to a side strain, with Boland retaining his place in the Australian XI and Neser getting squeezed out.

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