Australia should explore spin troika to win in India: Hussey
Melbourne, Jan 26 (IANS) Former Test batsman Michael Hussey has urged Australia’s selectors not to dismiss the option of employing three specialist spinners to win in India.
Australia are set to play four Tests in India starting February 23. They last won a Test in India in the 2000-01, when they lost the series 1-2.
Australia’s recent form in the subcontinent has been poor, with a recent 0-3 whitewash against Sri Lanka rubbing salt on their wounds.
Hussey, who averages of 63.05 in Tests played in Asia, the highest of any Australian batsmen to have played five or more Tests, believes they may require to do something out of the ordinary, including the previously untried option of three spinners, to win in India.
Australia have loaded the team with spinners, Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe joining the 16-man squad with left-arm orthodox spinner Ashton Agar and uncapped leg spinner Mitchell Swepson, as well as competent part-timers Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell.
But Australia has historically been reluctant to engage a predominantly spin attack in India, essentially because India’s batsmen are so familiar with the art and handle spin comfortably.
“I think we’ve got to adapt to the conditions and I think the squad is nicely balanced for that,” Hussey was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au on Thursday.
“We’ve got the option of playing three spinners if we want to. And we’ve got left-arm orthodox (O’Keefe and Agar), we’ve got right arm orthodox (Lyon) and we’ve got wrist spin (Swepson), so we’ve got all the bases covered.”
Hussey said the option of using a trio of tweakers and just two front-line fast bowlers may offer some merit in the challenging Indian conditions.
“I’m sure India will try and get the pitches to turn. That’s where they’re at their best and that’s where we’ve struggled in the past. There’s no question there’s going to be turning tracks so we have to be ready for that both from a batting point of view and team selection,” Hussey said.
“We need to pick the best team that’ll give you the best chance of winning in the conditions. It’s something they’ll definitely consider and it offers a lot of balance to the team as well.”
“O’Keefe and Lyon will be the first two spinners, but it gives you the option of playing Agar or Swepson and seeing what the best chance of taking 20 wickets is,” he added.