Cricket News: Australian selectors back Todd Murphy to impress on tour of India

There may be question marks over how off-spinner Todd Murphy fits into the Australian bowling attack – but there’s no question he has a good chance of playing, selectors insist.

Selection chief George Bailey has denied Todd Murphy will be thrown to Wolves in India and would have no qualms about giving him a stunning Test debut next month.

Murphy has only played seven top-flight matches, but at the age of 22 he was handpicked to potentially face Indian superstar Virat Kohli – as Bailey explained, “This is not a developmental tour.”

Bailey admits there’s a question mark over how off-spinner Murphy can fit into an attack already filled with colleague Nathan Lyon, but made it clear the Victorian is firmly in the frame for the ultimate baptism of fire in India to earn.

“I’m always very interested in this whole narrative of (what’s a) good time and bad time to debut someone,” Bailey said.

“I’m sure if you ask the player, ‘We’re thinking about playing you, mate, but we’re just going to wait until we think we can find an easy game.’

“I’m not sure they’d be that keen on that. We do not select anyone unless we believe they are willing to perform if an opportunity presents itself.

“I’m very happy for Todd. We had him on an Australia A tour. He played a Prime Minister’s XI game earlier in the summer and is just watching him very closely for Victoria, he’s a great boy.

“…Definitely he’s a chance to play. This is certainly not a development tour. He earned his place through his performances and what we think he can do.”

Murphy has the added benefit of getting the best possible insight into the biggest moment of his cricket life as he spends the next three weeks working hand-in-hand with Steve O’Keefe, 2017 Indians of Lyon and Australia success story the big bash league can work.

Lyon and Steve Smith return for the Sixers at this Sunday’s SCG, while O’Keefe could also be invaluable for Murphy to convey his mindset when he won 12 wickets at an angry gymnast in Pune six years ago.

“Now being able to start these conversations about what’s in store for me over there is going to be really good for setting me up over there,” Murphy said Wednesday.

“I found out yesterday morning. George Bailey called me. It was really exciting to see his name come up. Good news for me, which is great.

“He said it was a great opportunity to go there and try to learn about what cricket is like on the subcontinent. He mainly congratulated me and told me to enjoy the moment.

“It took me a while to understand. I immediately called Mom and Dad to tell them the news and they were absolutely smitten with me. It took me a few hours to realize what was about to happen. It’s sunken in now and it’s really exciting.

Australia have indicated left arm Ashton Agar is their second pick after Lyon.

Leg spinner Mitchell Swepson is also on the tour but, like Murphy, may need a situation where Australia play three spinners to win a game – something which is a realistic possibility, particularly in the first Test in Nagpur.

Bailey said that Lyon and Murphy aren’t the same bowler, despite both being offies – and the same goes for part-timer Travis Head, who also brings variations of the same skill.

“Whether he (Murphy) can play alongside Gaz (Lyon) is a question,” Bailey said.

“But they are different as far as off-spinners go. I don’t think you’re necessarily looking at the same type of bowler.

“We’ll come over and assess the conditions and what we think we need as soon as we hit the ground.”

Victorian opener Marcus Harris toured around with Australia as backup batsman all summer only to be axed for the India tour.

Bailey said Harris is viewed more as a specialist in Australian and English conditions and the run-making skills of Matt Renshaw and Peter Handscomb would be preferred for India.

After being skipped by Renshaw for the vacant spot at No. 6 for the Sydney Test, Harris has told the selectors he wants a chance to prove he can bat in the middle order to increase his chances to be selected in the future.

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

Originally published as Cricket News: Australian selectors back Todd Murphy to impress on tour of India Cricket News: Australian selectors back Todd Murphy to impress on tour of India

Ryan Sederquist

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