New Delhi : Former Australia left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe is excited about the prospect of off-spinner Todd Murphy making his Test debut against India at the first Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test in VCA Stadium, Nagpur.
On Thursday morning, Murphy, 22, was revealed as the 465th men’s Test player for Australia, with premier off-spinner Nathan Lyon handing him his Baggy Green as the visitors’ picked two off-spinners in their playing eleven for the first time in 35 years.
“He is something very, very special. I haven’t been this excited about an off-spinner since Nathan Lyon. I think he bowls with overspin and drop.
Not only that, he’s got a lot of skills to his armoury, he can bowl square seam which is important over there Todd Murphy is the guy in his brief cricket journey so far who can use all of those skills in certain parts of the game and really exploit them,” O’Keefe said on SEN’s Whateley show.
Murphy was selected ahead of left-arm spinner Ashton Agar and leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson in the playing eleven to partner Lyon. In seven first-class matches, Murphy has taken 29 wickets at an average of 25.20 since debuting for Victoria in the Sheffield Shield in April 2021.
“I think what you’ll see with Todd is he can bowl the classic off-spinner along with three or four other (types of deliveries). I can see him in the next 12-18 months being a suitable replacement for Nathan Lyon and I think we’ll see that straight away in this first Test,” added O’Keefe.
O’Keefe, who took 12 wickets when Australia defeated India by 333 runs in the 2017 Pune Test, advised Murphy to keep his line and length tight while bowling as the Indian batting line-up will look to target him.
“Todd’s going to have to bowl tight, he’s going to have to bowl straight and he’s going to have to do that containing role because the last thing you want over there is two spinners that are going at four an over there, particularly if you only have two quicks.”
“This is what India will do, they’ll put the young spinner under the pump straight away and they’ll force our bowlers to come back and bowl three or four spells in the heat.”
“Then you lose your advantage in Cummins, who you want bowling short, sharp, quick spells… I just hope that Todd can produce his best and really lock down an end and do what is required to support the other three bowlers.”
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