Former Australia spinner Steve O'Keefe feels that the Kangaroos should field three frontline spinners for the subcontinent Tests in 2022. The 36-year-old believes that Mitchell Swepson and Ashton Agar are ready to support Australia's premier spinner, Nathan Lyon when it comes to the Asian challenge.
Australia are due to tour Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka in 2022 as part of their WTC itinerary. The Kangaroos would be eyeing their first Test series victory in the subcontinent after a decade as their last series triumph came against Sri Lanka in 2011. The multiple Asian tours will be a tough challenge for Australia as they would need to do well in the Asian conditions if they have to qualify for the WTC final. When it comes to India and Bangladesh, there are many times when they field three spinners at home to cash in on the spin-friendly conditions.
Steve O’Keefe, who had helped Australia win the Test series opener against India when they last toured in 2017, with figures of 12/70, reckoned that playing three spinners in the Aussie XI would benefit the team while touring the subcontinent.
“I think we need to start looking at three spinners as well as a quick and a medium pacer. That would be my five bowling options in some of the conditions you encounter over there," O'Keefe told cricket.com.au, reported India Today.
“When you look at the Indian spinners (Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja) bowling well, that’s genuinely how they work; one will contain and one will be the wicket-taker. So I think it’s important for those guys to get some opportunities to bowl together, whether that’s in some lead-up games for Aussie A or tour games over there, to get the synergy right of bowling together. I think they’ll have success," he said.
The subcontinent has always welcomed spin bowlers across all formats, especially in Test cricket spinners have been indomitable, given the amount of turn on offer. The 36-year-old believes that the likes of Mitchell Swepson and Ashton Agar can complement Nathan Lyon well.
“But the beauty of playing Nathan Lyon with Ashton Agar or if you went with all three, Nathan is an attacking, over-the-top spin bowler who can be aggressive, then someone like Ashton could really control (the game) and bring the run rate down to two or three an over”.