Mitchell Swepson, the highest wicket-taker in Shield this year, has claimed that he is excited to have the opportunity to test himself against a great like Virat Kohli in the warm-up game ahead of the Tests. Swepson, who is currently Lyon’s understudy, has been named in the Test squad to face India.
Despite having firmly established himself as the country’s number two spinner, the green tracks in Queensland made life difficult for Mitchell Swepson, to break into the Australian squad, but all that and more changed this season with the Sheffield Shield being played on turning Adelaide wickets. With 23 wickets to his name, the leg-spinner is the highest wicket-taker of the ongoing Shield season and, as a result, received a deserved call-up for the Border Gavaskar Trophy Tests against India.
A gig in the first XI, owing to the presence of Nathan Lyon, might not be realistic, but Swepson, nevertheless, will get a chance to have a go at the Indian line-up in the warm-up games ahead of the Tests, thanks to being named in the Australia A squad. Speaking to cricket.com.au, the 27-year-old expressed elation over the opportunity that awaits him and claimed that he is buzzing to test himself against Virat Kohli, who he regards as an all-time-great.
"You want to challenge yourself against the best, and it's no secret he's (Kohli) up there with the best," Swepson told cricket.com.au.
"For me it's another challenge and another thing that excites me to be able to test myself against a great cricketer. Their whole batting line-up is world class. So any opportunity to bowl at those guys is a test for myself and a challenge I can't wait to get."
Now 27 and nearing his peak, Swepson is in the form of his life, especially having picked up 18 wickets in the last 4 innings for Queensland, including three five-wicket hauls. However, the presence of Australia’s most prolific off-spinner, Nathan Lyon, in the first XI means that the leggie will most definitely not get a look-in, unless the Aussies decide to play two spinners at the SCG.
The mature 27-year-old acknowledged the impossible task in front of his hands - i.e to leapfrog Lyon - but asserted that he will, nevertheless, leave no stone unturned when it comes to his preparation and will ensure that he keeps himself ready to pounce if and when he gets an opportunity.
"He's (Lyon) proven himself time and time again in Test matches. I'm not counting my chickens too much there with getting a go above him.But if conditions suit, there may be a chance they play two spinners.
"Given the current times with COVID being around, and illness and things like that, you have to be ready to go no matter what. I'll be preparing to play all four games. If the chance comes, I'll hopefully take it with two hands. And if not, so be it. I'm sure there'll be more chances in the future."
Team India will play two warm-up matches against Australia A prior to the Test series, with the second one being a day-night pink-ball game at the SCG, six days prior to the start of the Border Gavaskar Trophy.