I would look at Ashton Agar as second spinner on that India tour: Former Australia coach Darren Lehmann
Nathan Lyon is set to be the premier spinner but Lehmann feels Agar can make an impact
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Former Australia coach Darren Lehmann says he will prefer Ashton Agar as the second spinner for the upcoming India tour where they will be playing four Tests. Nathan Lyon is set to lead the spin-bowling attack but Lehmann feels Agar can make an impact just like how Steve O'Keefe on their tour in 2017. The left-arm spinner had picked 12 wickets in the Pune Test that was a rank-turner and helped Australia beat India.
Lehmann was the head coach of the team then and feels finger spinner will do better in India on spin-friendly surfaces. Todd Murphy and Mitchell Swepson are the other spinners in the 18-member squad that is set to tour India.
"Having been there, I’m probably more inclined to play finger spinners. 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 Agar, bat a little bit, bowl as that second spinner," Lehmann said while speaking to Australia radio station SENQ.
Australia's squad is looking pretty good, says Lehmann
Australia have more or less qualified for the World Test Championship (WTC) final while India need to win the series by 2-0 or 2-1 at least to make it to the sumitt clash. Meanwhile, Australia are only needed to avoid a 4-0 whitewash on the tour to confirm their place in the final.
Coming back to Lehmann, he is also happy that the Australians have announced 18 players in the squads pointing out that there are a lot of spin options in the team. He felt that the presence of Swepson will be important as the leggies are genuine wicket-takers and if conditions suit, he might also play.
"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. 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," the former Australia coach added.