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Wouldn't say playing two spinners is a given: Pat Cummins

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Last updated on 04 Feb 2023 | 09:51 AM
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Wouldn't say playing two spinners is a given: Pat Cummins

Apart from Nathan Lyon, Australia have Todd Murphy and Mitchell Swepson in the squad but they can also rely on Travis Head to roll his arm over

Australia are having their base in Bengaluru and are practicing at Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA)’s facility in Alur. After deciding not to play a warm-up game ahead of the first Test in Nagpur, they are fine-tuning their skills against spin bowling with Maheesh Pithiya, whose actions have an uncanny similarity with Ravichandran Ashwin. 

However, with the first match being played at the spin-friendly Nagpur venue, their bowling strategy would also be under the scanner. If they would go with two spinners in their line-up is a plan that is left to be decided for later, but it must be remembered that they played both Ashton Agar and Nathan Lyon in the SCG Test last month. Playing two spinners would be a no-brainer but Pat Cummins stated that the fast bowlers hold enough sway in spin-friendly conditions as well, hence things are not as straightforward.

"I wouldn't say two spinners is a given, it's very conditions dependent so particularly this first Test, once we get to Nagpur we'll see," Cummins told reporters at the KSCA Alur Facility. "I think sometimes talking about a couple of spinners you forget how good a lot of our fast bowlers have been in all conditions. Even for some of the SCG wickets, there hasn't been a lot in them for quick bowlers but the quick bowlers have found a way.

"We've got plenty of bowling options here - fingerspin, wrist-spin, left-arm, Starcy when he comes back - so we'll obviously pick the bowlers we think can take 20 wickets, how we are going to split that up we aren't 100% sure yet."

Apart from Nathan Lyon, Australia have Todd Murphy and Mitchell Swepson in the squad but they can also rely on Travis Head to roll his arm over. If they decide to go with two frontline spinners, then Murphy may overpower Swepson for the role.

"It's a chance. That's something we'll have to balance up if we want to go with two spinners," he said. "Do we want variation, or just two offspinners? So there's no reason why we can't go that way. Travis Head is in the side as well and bowls really good offspin. We've got plenty of variety to choose from."

One of the challenges that visiting teams often faced in India is the amount of reverse swing on offer, something that made Umesh Yadav one of the most potent options out there. Due to the wear and tear of the wickets, pacers tend to get more advantage as match progresses, which many Australian players got a first-hand experience when their A team visited Bengaluru in 2018. Wicketkeeper Alex Carey stated that the impact of reverse swing can't be ruled out.

"Going to Pakistan it was a lot of spin talk and I found the reverse swinging ball difficult," Carey told reporters. "I played a four-day game here in 2018 and a lot of the talk was spin and probably forget a bit how damaging both team's fast bowlers are with the reverse-swinging ball, a wicket that might be a bit up and down.

"Having the game ebb and flow between spin and fast bowling, dry periods, periods where it will score quickly…think that's great about this team, the experience we do have.

"We know the threats that India have. For a lot of the guys who have played in the past, we'll speak to them and we'll have our batters' meeting soon. We'll face a lot of different spinners throughout the next few days, our spinners [are] bowling well as well, so for everyone it's getting our feet on the ground."

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