Mitchell Sweposon to make Australia Test debut against Pakistan with Josh Hazelwood out

Cricket, featured, Mitchell Swepson



Legspinner Mitchell Swepson will make his Test debut for Australia when the second Test gets underway against Pakistan in Karachi on Saturday.

After a drawn series-opener, Swepson replaces paceman Josh Hazlewood, who missed most of the Ashes with injury. Hazlewood was restricted to a bit part role as Pakistan blunted Australia’s pace led attack in the first test stalemate with speculation over the NSW star’s fitness.

“We think particularly a wrist spinner of Swepo’s quality gives us the best chance to take 20 wickets (in the Test),” Australia captain Pat Cummins said on Friday.

Swepson and Ashton Agar were considered in line to join offspinner Nathan Lyon in the team. Swepson has taken 154 wickets in 51 first class games.

In what has been an emotional week for everyone involved in Austrlaian cricket, Cummins made a nod to Swepson’s debut coming soon after the death of Shane Warne.

“I think it’s quite special that someone like Mitchell Swepson is going to debut tomorrow as a legspinner who grew up trying to replicate Warnie,” Cummins said.

For all the success of Warne and fellow leggie Stuart MacGill it has been a long wait for another to emerge in the Test arena for the Aussies as Swepson becomes the first to play since Bryce McGain’s one off Test in 2009.

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Swepson has long been groomed for Test cricket. He toured to India with Australia in early 2017, without getting a game, and has had more success in T20 cricket.

Swepson’s breakthrough comes after several years of toil on domestic pitches he believes haven’t been overly conducive to the spinners’ craft, especially late in games.

“I can’t see it being anything other than the fact the conditions nowadays, wickets are just holding together so much better, you find that spinners are having more impact earlier in the game when the wickets are fresher and have a bit more moisture in it and have that tackiness to them,” Swepson told Cricinfo last year.

“It’s a little bit frustrating because growing up and watching a lot of cricket as a youngster and as a spinner, day four is your day, your time to shine, but I really haven’t had much experience of doing that and playing that role.”

He feels he’s done the hard work to succeed at test level.

“I had to learn the hard way about how challenging Shield cricket is specifically,” Swepson told Cricinfo.

“Those drag downs or full tosses that you might slip up on every now and then, you get away with in premier grade cricket, but you step up to Shield cricket and those sorts of things are what you have to get out of your game if you want to have success.

“So as I’ve developed my game a little bit, I’ve had to change the way I went about my bowling and understand my role more in the team and just become a bit more of a holding bowler, rather than as a youngster, as a leggie I was always taught that you’ve got to try and attack and take wickets and that’s my role.

“But for my role in Queensland, the best role I can play is almost to play second fiddle to our quicks, which as long as the team is having success, I was happy to adapt my game around that.”

Australian XI: Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Swepson.

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