Aussies name spin bolter for Indian Test tour
CRICKET: Glenn Maxwell is back in the Test fold and uncapped leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson is also on the way to India after both were named in a 16-man squad for the upcoming tour of India.
Shaun Marsh and Mitchell Marsh have been added the squad, with Ashton Agar also included. All-rounder Hilton Cartwright was dropped.
Spinner Steve O'Keeffe, after taking 9-54 off 29 overs in club cricket on Saturday, has retained his spot among four spinners, with Nathan Lyon.
Australia will fly to India next month for the four-Test series, kicking off in Pune on February 23.
Speaking on the make-up of the squad, interim national selector Trevor Hohns said the panel chose an additional spin bowler to allow as many options as possible.
"We don't know what pitch conditions we will come up against in each of the venues but wanted to have flexibility and options available to us.
"We know India is an incredibly tough place to tour and have success in, with most international teams struggling to adapt to the conditions, but we have chosen a squad which we believe will work really hard in its endeavours to perform well and give a good account of itself in the subcontinent.
"We expect all of the young players chosen to benefit immensely from the experience.”
The squad features four spinners including Queenslander Swepson and West Australia's left-arm orthodox spinner Agar.
"Mitchell is an exciting young leg-spinner that has come through the pathway system. We feel he has a lot of potential and want to see him take his opportunity in conditions that should suit him should he get a chance,” Hohns said.
"Ashton is a good left-arm orthodox spinner who can be very exciting with the bat and also fields extremely well. He provides us with a great all-round package.”
Victoria's Maxwell and West Australia's Mitchell Marsh are the all-rounders in the side.
"We know Glenn plays very well against spin and has a lot of experience playing in India. We think his ability with the bat, coupled with his handy off-spin, will complement the bowling unit if required,” Hohns said.
"We consider Mitchell as a bowling all-rounder and should we decide to play a two pace and two spin bowling attack it is important to have that third seam bowling option if conditions suit.”
West Australia's Shaun Marsh returns to the side following injury earlier in the summer.
"Shaun is proven in subcontinent conditions and is coming off a hundred in his last Test match in Sri Lanka. He is a very versatile batsman who can slot in at the top or the middle of the order,” Hohns said.
With the inclusion of only three fast bowlers in the squad the selection panel will reassess the fast bowling stocks after the second Test in Bangalore.
Selected members of the squad will depart on January 29 for Dubai to train, before the remainder of the squad follows after the Chappell-Hadlee series in New Zealand.
SQUAD: Smith, Warner, Agar, Bird, Handscomb, Hazlewood, Khawaja, Lyon, M Marsh, S Marsh, Maxwell, O'Keefe, Starc, Renshaw, Swepson, Wade