Murphy earns maiden call-up, Australia names spin-heavy squad

Looking for their first Test series win in India since 2004, Australia will play Test matches in Nagpur (February 9-13), New Delhi (February 17-21), Dharamsala (March 1-5) and Ahmedabad (March 9-13).
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Representative ImageANI

MELBOURNE: Uncapped off-spinner Todd Murphy, with all of seven match first-class experience, received his maiden Test call-up as Australia on announced a spin-heavy squad for their upcoming four-Test series in India starting February 9.

Looking for their first Test series win in India since 2004, Australia will play Test matches in Nagpur (February 9-13), New Delhi (February 17-21), Dharamsala (March 1-5) and Ahmedabad (March 9-13).

The 22-year-old from Victoria will join fellow spinners Ashton Agar, Mitchell Swepson and Nathan Lyon in the 18-member squad which also includes Peter Handscomb and Matthew Renshaw as batting back-ups.

"We have selected a squad that provides the depth and flexibility required to adapt depending on the conditions we may encounter," former skipper and current chief selector George Bailey said in a statement.

On Murphy's call-up, Bailey said: "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." Murphy will be Nathan Lyon's understudy, having taken 29 wickets in his seven first-class games so far.

He has also played 14 List A and 8 T20 games "Ashton Agar continues to impress following his comeback in Sydney and we believe left-arm finger spin will play an important role in Indian conditions. Mitchell Swepson has recent Test experience in the sub-continent and offers leg-spinning variety." While Handscomb will join Renshaw as the batting backups, Marcus Harris was left out.

"Peter Handscomb deserves his place back in the squad. His domestic form has been strong recently and Pete has proven he can perform at the Test level," Bailey said.

"His experience against spin on the subcontinent is valuable and he is also an exceptionally good close to the wicket catcher." Handscomb last played a Test in 2019. Australia will also play three ODIs in India but the squad for the limited over series will be announced at a later date.

Australia squad: Pat Cummins (C), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Lance Morris, Todd Murphy, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner.

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