Selectors worried by low stocks
Less than convincing series against Sri Lanka … Nathan Lyon. Photo: Brendan Esposito
National selector John Inverarity admits concern at the depth of spin bowling stocks before Australia's testing tour of India next month.
Nathan Lyon is certain to be on the flight to Delhi when an advance group of players head to the subcontinent early next month for a tour match and to adjust to unfamiliar conditions.
England's Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann were central to a 2-1 series victory over India late last year and Australia know spin could also be key to their prospects over four Tests in Delhi, Mohali, Hyderabad and Chennai winding up in late March.
Lyon is the team's leading spinner but the right-arm orthodox has been unconvincing over the 3-0 series whitewash against Sri Lanka. There is no stand-out back-up either, with the second most favoured, Victoria's Jon Holland, sidelined after a shoulder operation. Left-armer Michael Beer, who played the last of his two Tests at Port of Spain last April, will be one contender while the 12th man in Sydney, Glenn Maxwell, is also in selectors' sights for India.
''We certainly wish to have a greater depth of quality spin bowlers than we have but we've got a pretty clear direction of where we're going, in terms of India and beyond,'' Inverarity said. ''There are two or three players that we're considering to back up Nathan Lyon.''
By choosing four quicks and Lyon, Australian selectors forfeited the opportunity to trial Maxwell in the third Test at the SCG after picking the Victorian all-rounder to replace the injured Shane Watson in the squad. With Australia considering sending three spinners to India, he should get his chance there.
''We're certainly hoping Glenn Maxwell develops as a batting all-rounder who bowls decent off-spin,'' Inverarity said. ''He's a very talented player who we think is likely to improve on a fairly steep incline.''
Meanwhile, Watson sat down with the Australian team management in Sydney to discuss his bowling future. After sustaining another calf strain on day one of the Boxing Day Test he said he would consider re-modelling himself as a batsman only.
''[The meeting] was mostly devoted to his bowling and what he thought he could do in the different formats,'' Inverarity said.