Veteran Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon feels fellow slow bowler Mitchell Swepson is in line to get selected for the opening Test against Pakistan beginning in Rawalpindi on March 4, and hopes the leg-spinner is able to cash in on the opportunity.
The 28-year-old uncapped Swepson could be offered a slot in the Australian team given the nature of the subcontinent’s pitches, which would mean the pace-heavy side could go into the series opener with two specialist spinners.
While the 34-year-old Lyon is assured of selection, as not only is he the most successful tweaker in the current side with 415 Test wickets, he also performed remarkably in the recently-concluded Ashes series which Australia won 4-0.
“Sweppo (Swepson) has been around for a long time now in and around our squad,” Lyon was quoted as saying by 7news.com.au on Wednesday. “He is always asking questions of not just myself but all the other members of the support staff and playing squad as well.
“So whenever he gets his opportunity, I have got no doubt that he will take his opportunity and run with it. He does have my backing, that’s for sure,” added Lyon.
About his views on the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium training pitch, Lyon said, “It’s interesting… we’re actually training about three pitches over from the centre wicket and it actually wasn’t spinning that much. I know we have got a little bit more grass on the wickets we’re training on compared to what looks like the match wicket.
“But to be honest with you, I think we’re very comfortable with where we sit. Within the Australian squad here we have got enough people to cover all bases,” added the veteran spinner.
“So it’s going to be an interesting conversation that (interim coach) Andrew McDonald, (selection chairman) George Bailey and (captain) Pat Cummins have in the lead-up. But whatever team we go out with, we’re confident enough that we can play a really positive brand of cricket.”
The spinner likened the Rawalpindi wickets to Test strips in the UAE.
“It looks similar to a UAE wicket at the moment, there’s not much grass on it. I daresay it’s going to be pretty shiny come day one, so expecting it to be pretty nice to bat on the first couple of days then look to hopefully spin — and reverse swing may come into it.”
Australia will be playing a Test series on Pakistani soil for the first time since 1998.