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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Australia add spinning spice into Test squad for Border-Gavaskar series

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Australia have reacted swiftly to their disappointing loss to India in the first Test in Nagpur by flying spinner Matt Kuhnemann out to join the squad for the remainder of the tour.

Kuhnemann will come under consideration for a Test debut when the second Test commences in Delhi on Friday, with the left-armer joining up with the squad to replace leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson.

Swepson missed out on selection for Australia’s innings and 132 runs loss to India and has decided to fly home to be alongside his wife for the birth of their baby.

It opens the door for Kuhnemann to play the second Test as Australia selectors look to re-jig their XI and get back into contention in the four-match Test series.

Kuhnemann could vie with fellow lefty Ashton Agar for a different spinning option, while selectors are hopeful that veteran left-armer Mitchell Starc and star all-rounder Cameron Green will be fit to play.

In-form batter Travis Head is another player that may be recalled for the Delhi Test, with the left-hander surprisingly omitted for the opening Test of the series despite a good run at home during the recent summer.

While Kuhnemann is yet to play a Test for Australia, he did feature in four ODIs against Sri Lanka in the middle of last year and managed to pick up six wickets.

Australia currently lead the ICC World Test Championship standings and need to avoid a 4-0 whitewash to India to ensure they reach June’s final at The Oval.

Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Matt Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Lance Morris, Todd Murphy, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner.

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