Australia announce 18-member squad for India Test series: Details here
Australia have announced their 18-member squad for the high-voltage four-Test series versus hosts India. As many as four spinners have been included with uncapped Todd Murphy getting a surprise call-up. Peter Handscomb is also in line to make his first Test appearance since January 2019. Though Mitchell Starc has been named in the squad, he is set to miss the first Test. Here's more.
Why does this story matter?
- The four-match Test series in India will get underway on February 9.
- Stakes are incredibly high as both Australia and India are seeking a berth in the ICC World Test Championship final.
- Though the Aussies are all but through, they would need at least a draw to qualify without depending on other results.
- India require at least a 2-0 win for the same.
Australia Test squad for the tour of India
Australia Test squad for the tour of India: Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Lance Morris, Todd Murphy, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith (vc), Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner.
Murphy awarded by Australian selectors
Murphy has stormed into the squad on the back of some impressive performances. He currently owns 29 wickets in seven First-Class games at 25.20. While veteran Nathan Lyon will lead the spin department, Ashton Agar and Mitchell Swepson are the other spin-bowling options in the squad Notably, Swepson played four of Australia's five Tests on the subcontinent last year, returning with 10 wickets.
What did Bailey say about Murphy's inclusion?
"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 Chairman George Bailey said.
Green, Starc racing against time
All-rounder Cameron Green, who fractured his finger during the Boxing Day Test versus South Africa, is racing against time to play the opener in Nagpur. Starc's unavailability for the first Test is confirmed as he continues to recover from his tendon damage. Uncapped speed merchant Lance Morris could make his international debut in Nagpur if the Aussies decide to go with three frontline pacers.
Australian batters are in great form
Meanwhile, Australia's top-five batters, Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, and Travis Head, have been among the runs lately and would like to shine against India as well. Head's aggressive batting in the middle overs has haunted several teams in the year gone by. While Smith has proven his mettle on Indian soil, Labuschagne is the current top-ranked Test batter.
Australia have been away from the Border-Gavaskar trophy
Australia last defeated India in a Test series back in 2014-15 at home. Since then, the two powerhouses have crossed swords in three Test series and India recorded a 2-1 win on all occasions. The Aussies last toured India for a Test series in 2017.