An off-spinner with just seven first-class matches in the bag is in line for a Test debut in India after Australia named Todd Murphy in an 18-man squad.
The 22-year-old Murphy, declared by Steve O’Keefe as Australia’s best off-spinner since Nathan Lyon, has scored a ticket for the four-Test series across February and March.
Australia’s selectors have picked four frontline spinners for the tour in Lyon, Mitchell Swepson, Ashton Agar and Murphy, who plays for Victoria and the Sydney Sixers.
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“Todd Murphy has progressed quickly having impressed in domestic cricket and recently with Australia A,” said chair of selectors George Bailey.
“With those performances Todd has emerged as a strong spin option.
“Selection in this squad also provides another opportunity to spend time alongside Nathan Lyon and assistant coach Daniel Vettori in India, which will be invaluable to his development.”
Peter Handscomb will join Murphy on the plane to India after earning a chance to reignite his Test career.
The right-hander chalked up two tons and two half-centuries in his first four Tests, in the 2016-17 Australian summer, but was axed during the 2017-18 Ashes and dropped again after the 2019 New Year’s Test, his most recent Test appearance.
He’s shone in the Sheffield Shield in recent seasons, having scored a competition-high 697 runs at 49.78 in the 2021-22 summer and an unmatched 571 runs at 81.57 so far this summer.
He featured in Australia’s 2017 Test tour of India, compiling 198 runs at 28.28, and the Test series in Bangladesh later in the year, registering 146 runs at 48.66.
“Peter Handscomb deserves his place back in the squad,” Bailey said.
“His domestic form has been strong recently and Pete has proven he can perform at Test level.
“His experience against spin on the subcontinent is valuable and he is also an exceptionally good close-to-the-wicket catcher.”
Matthew Renshaw is also bound for India after making his Test return against South Africa in Sydney last week, batting at No.6.
And Western Australian speed demon Lance Morris, who’s yet to play Test cricket, was included in the squad.
Australia is hoping to win its first Test tour in India since 2004, when Adam Gilchrist captained his side to a 2-1 win.
Australia has since slumped to a 2-0 defeat in 2008, a 2-0 loss in 2010, a 4-0 loss in 2013 and a 2-1 loss in 2017.
This year’s tour, scheduled to begin on February 9, will be played in Nagpur, Delhi, Dharamsala and Ahmedabad.
Australian Test squad for India tour (18 players)
Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey (wk), 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
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