Uncapped Swepson realistic over chances, Agar set to bat higher
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Uncapped Australia leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson recognises he is heading to Bangladesh as the third-choice slow bowler but is hoping his ability to get prodigious turn will earn him a test call-up.
Swepson, who toured India earlier this year but did not play, was added last week to Australia’s squad for their two-test series in Bangladesh, which starts on Aug. 27.
The 23-year-old, however, understands that offspinner Nathan Lyon and left-arm orthodox spinner Ashton Agar are likely to be ahead of him in the selectors’ minds.
“I was added late, so you’d probably think that the other two blokes are ahead of me at the moment,” Swepson told reporters at the team’s training camp in Darwin on Saturday.
“But anything can happen.
“I’ve just got to prepare to play and if it doesn’t happen, then so be it. I’ll just take the experience as it comes and I’m looking forward to it.”
Swepson’s ability to get turn was highly respected by leg-spinning great Shane Warne, who urged selectors to bring him into the side for their programme at home last summer.
The Queenslander, however, was not included until the tour of India earlier this year, where he said he had picked up a great deal of knowledge.
“I picked up a few things in India just being around the squad, and being able to be at test matches and watch how the blokes go about it,” he said.
“Coming back this pre-season, I was really happy with where my bowling was at and I think that was on the back of being on that Indian tour.”
While Agar’s ability to tie up one end with a superior economy rate to Swepson is likely to earn him the nod, it is actually his batting that could give him a leg up in future selections, according to captain Steve Smith.
Agar still holds the record for the highest test score as a number 11 when he struck an impressive 98 on debut against England as a teenager in 2013.
The 23-year-old has scored two first class centuries and eight half centuries and Smith said he felt Agar could potentially transform into a batsman who bowls rather than a bowler who can bat.
“I think he’s got that ability,” Smith told Cricket Australia’s website.
“Right now… he’s probably playing mainly as a spinner who can bat a bit. But I think he’s certainly got the capability to bat in the top six at some point.”