SYDNEY (Reuters): Australia have kept their bowling options wide open for the upcoming tour of India and named four spinners and six pace bowlers in their squad for the four test matches in Feb and March.
Uncapped spinner Todd Murphy was perhaps the most surprising addition to the squad that dominated South Africa on home soil to round out Australia’s home summer.
The 22-year-old joins fellow off-spinner Nathan Lyon, Ashton Agar and Mitchell Swepson as the slow bowling options for the matches in Nagpur, New Delhi, Dharamshala and Ahmedabad.
Left-armer Agar retained his place in the squad despite failing to take a wicket in the weather-disrupted draw with the Proteas that concluded on Sunday, his first test since 2017.
“Ashton Agar continues to impress following his comeback in Sydney and we believe left-arm finger spin will play an important role in Indian conditions,” head selector George Bailey said in a news release.
“Todd Murphy has progressed quickly having impressed in domestic cricket and recently with Australia A. With those performances Todd has emerged as a strong spin option. “Selection in this squad also provides another opportunity to spend time alongside Nathan Lyon and assistant coach Daniel Vettori in India, which will be invaluable to his development.”
Left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc missed the Sydney test with a finger injury and will not join the squad until after the first test, while all-rounder Cameron Green has been selected in the expectation that he will recover from his broken finger.
Josh Hazlewood retained his spot after being the standout bowler in Sydney on his return from injury with skipper Pat Cummins, Scott Boland and the uncapped Lance Morris the other pace options.
Swepson and middle order batsman Peter Handscomb were the other additions to the squad that beat South Africa, while opener Marcus Harris missed out.
“Peter Handscomb deserves his place back in the squad,” Bailey added. “His domestic form has been strong recently and Pete has proven he can perform at test level.
“His experience against spin on the subcontinent is valuable and he is also an exceptionally good close-to-the-wicket catcher.”
Squad: Pat Cummins (captain), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Lance Morris, Todd Murphy, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner