Sydney: Australia's national cricket selectors on Wednesday selected a four-man spin arsenal for the upcoming four-Test tour of India with rookie spinner Todd Murphy making the grade on the back of some superb performances at the domestic level and for Australia A. Murphy joins experienced campaigner Ashton Agar and Mitchell Swepson as potential spin partners for Nathan Lyon on a tour on which their bowling resources are expected to be stretched to the full.
ODIs squad to be announced later
Agar has recently made it back to the Test squad and played the third and final Test against South Africa and continues to be preferred as the national selectors confirmed an 18-player squad for the four-Test Border-Gavaskar series. Swepson had played four of Australia's five Tests on the subcontinent last year for a return of 10 wickets at 45 and was favoured over white-ball leg-spinner Adam Zampa. The Australian men's team will play Test matches in Nagpur, New Delhi, Dharamshala and Ahmedabad in February/March. A squad for three ODIs will be announced at a later date.
Strength in batting
Besides boosting their spin attack, the Australian selectors also bolstered their batting for playing against spin by including Peter Handscomb in the side. "Peter Handscomb, Todd Murphy and Mitchell Swepson have been added from the last Test match in Sydney while Cameron Green and Mitchell Starc have been named in expectation of successful respective returns from injury. Marcus Harris missed selection," Cricket Australia informed in a release on Wednesday.
Challenging Test tour
Chairman of Selectors George Bailey said: "After a successful home summer the squad is excited by the challenge a Test tour to the subcontinent provides. We have selected a squad that provides the depth and flexibility required to adapt depending on the conditions we may encounter." Bailey said the combination of left and right-hand batters, four specialist spinners and six fast bowlers, including allrounder Cameron Green, offers options in varying settings. "Peter Handscomb deserves his place back in the squad," Bailey said. "His domestic form has been strong recently and Pete has proven he can perform at the Test level. His experience against spin on the subcontinent is valuable and he is also an exceptionally good close to the wicket catcher," Bailey was quoted as saying by Cricket Australia in the release.
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