Selecting Swepson over Zampa a risky bet, says Merv Hughes

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Merv Hughes
Merv Hughes. (© Getty Images)

Following the amount of criticism that the Pune pitch had to face during the first Test match between India and Australia, all eyes are set on the nature of the pitch that will be provided for the Ranchi Test. There have been rampant rumors that the Ranchi Test will also feature a pitch that will be a massive turner like the one in Pune. Going by that, former Aussie fast bowler Merv Hughes has called upon fresher Mitch Swepson to be included in the squad.

”You’ve got Swepson sitting on the sidelines. It’d be a hell of a gamble (to pick him) but it might be a gamble worth taking. If I’m hearing (correctly) about what the wicket is like (in Ranchi), it’ll be like that first Test wicket in Pune. You could almost go with three spinners.” said Hughes addressing the Melbourne Radio Station.

Australia stepped in with two specialists spinners in the first two encounters against India. However, Swepson being a part of the squad gives us a hint that the Aussies might strengthen their spin attack with three spinners in the lineup. But Hughes preferred to keep it a mystery. He said: “That goes against everything in the Australian psyche. It’s in our Australian psyche (to select) two fast bowlers, two spinners and a batting allrounder. They could (bring in) the leg-spinner and have Hazlewood and Stoinis (as the two seamers), if it’s a wicket like that first-Test wicket where they were talking about playing three spinners.”

With luck on his side, this opportunity is a dream call for youngster Mitch Swepson as he has been selected over the other leg-spinner in Australian ranks Adam Zampa for his ability to turn the ball better than Zampa. His first-class record has been quite impressive with 41 wickets from 14 matches with an average of 32.82.

Former Australian captain and legendary batsman Steve Waugh also backs Swepson to do well. He has a gut feeling that Swepson can turn out be a decisive factor for the Australians. “There’s an opportunity there … India haven’t seen him and I think that surprise element could be very handy. I think the selectors and (captain Steve) Smith have to work out whether his temperament is up to it. His biggest issue would be handling that pressure in a big situation with the crowd making a lot of noise. Can he remain calm and composed”, Waugh said.

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