Last Updated: January 23, 2023, 14:39 IST
With just over two weeks remaining before the first Test between India and Australia gets underway in Nagpur, the tourists have been advised by one of their former coaches to put faith in allrounder Ashton Agar to partner Nathan Lyon in the spin department. Australia have named a spin-heavy squad for the India tour as they hope to end their long wait for a Test series win in the country.
Australia last won a Test in India in 2017 in Pune when left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe wreaked havoc with 12 wickets. Dipping into his experience, Darren Lehmann, who was the coach of that winning side, thinks that a finger spinner could prove to be an important weapon.
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”Having been there, I’m probably more inclined to play finger spinners,” Lehmann, who was the coach of their 2017 victory in Pune, said on Australian radio station SENQ.
”It just gets through the air quicker and some spin and some don’t. The leg-spinners sometimes spin it too much, if that makes sense… (for finger spinners) some skid on and you get beaten on the inside and you get an LBW. That’s probably why they’re looking at a finger spinner. We certainly did that four years ago (2017) and Steve O’Keefe bowled India out basically on his own in one of the last Test matches to win there. That’s why I’d be looking at someone like an Agar, bat a little bit, bowl as that second spinner,” the 52-year-old added.
Agar recently played in the Sydney Test against South Africa but remained wicketless.
Besides Lyon (offspinner) and Agar (left-arm othrodox), the touring party also comprises spin options in Mitchell Swepson (legspinner) and uncapped Todd Murphy (offspinner).
Swepson is another bowler who adds the right balance, feels Lehmann.
”I can’t believe there was talk of him (Swepson) not going, talk about balance of the side, if you get to pick 18 players, you want a pretty balanced squad,” Lehmann said.
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”Most of the time we only take 15 (players) over there. They’ve got the extra spinners, there’s plenty of options, there’s no tour game, so they’ll work out the best option to win over there I’m sure. It does look like a pretty good squad. If it suits to play the leg-spinner as the second spinner, then good on him,” he added.
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