Leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson, who partnered Adam Zampa in the first T20I, admitted that he was left disappointed by his performance, but claimed that he was ‘delighted’ to bag the prized scalp of Virat Kohli. Swepson revealed that the wicket of Kohli helped relieve pressure and settle nerves.
A calf injury sustained by incumbent Ashton Agar in the 3rd ODI meant that young Mitchell Swepson got a late call-up to play the first T20I against India, his second ever international game for Australia. The 27-year-old started poorly, bowling long-hops in each of his first three balls, but left the Indian fans mortified by scalping skipper Virat Kohli on his fourth ball. However, despite claiming the big fish, the leggie was not able to kick-on, and eventually finished with figures of 1/21 off 2 overs.
Speaking to cricket.com.au post the first T20I, Swepson expressed disappointment over his performance, but claimed that it was surreal to claim the wicket of Kohli.
“He's (Kohli) obviously an unreal player, to get that wicket was a little bit extra on top as well,” Swepson told cricket.com.au
"Overall, quite disappointed with the way I bowled but it's always nice to get a wicket like that."
The highest wicket-taker in the ongoing Shield season and a seasoned BBL campaigner, Swepson’s appearance on Friday was his first international outing in two and a half years, having last represented the Aussies back in 2018 against England. The 27-year-old admitted that nerves and over-excitement got the better of him, but revealed that the big wicket of Kohli did ease the tension.
"I think my first three balls weren't great so to get a wicket on the fourth, and especially Virat's wicket, was a bit of a pressure release," Swepson said.
"I was just so excited to be out there and that over-excitement added with the pressure of wanting to do really well and perform on the international stage, throw in a couple of nerves as well … that helped getting that wicket, released a bit of that pressure.
"I guess what you saw, those emotions, were just that pressure release that I got that breakthrough for the team.”
The first T20I in Canberra was the first instance of Australia fielding two specialist leg-spinners together in over 15 years, but the addition of Nathan Lyon to the squad means that Swepson’s place is under significant threat, particularly due to his underwhelming returns. However, the leggie indirectly vouched for his own selection and asserted that leg-spinners are an asset in the shortest format, due to their capability of putting doubts in batsmen’s minds by turning the ball both ways.
"You've seen the impact that leg-spin has had on the T20 format in basically all competitions; the BBL, IPL, international cricket, there's a lot of leg-spinners having a lot of impact," Swepson said today. In the BBL there's quite a few teams that play two leg-spinners.
"It's one of those things that no matter what way the ball is spinning, I think leg-spinners can have that impact. If you've got two that are good enough than why not play both of them?
"That ability to spin the ball both ways puts doubt in the batsman's mind. That's where I think leg-spinners have that advantage in the T20 format."