Melbourne: Australia called up uncapped Mitchell Swepson to boost the spin contingent for the upcoming India series to four, as Glenn Maxwell returned to the Test fold in the 16-man squad.
Australia have not won a Test match in India since 2004, and the four-Test February-March series is expected to be a stern test for skipper Steve Smith and his team.
“We don’t know what pitch conditions we will come up against in each of the venues but wanted to have flexibility and options available to us,” interim national selector Trevor Hohns said of the inclusion of an additional spin bowler.
“Mitchell (Swepson) is an exciting young leg-spinner that has come through the pathway system.
“We feel he has a lot of potential and want to see him take his opportunity in conditions that should suit him should he get a chance.”
Queenslander Swepson, 23, joins lead spinner Nathan Lyon, Ashton Agar and Steve O’Keefe.
All-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh were included in the side, with Hilton Cartwright dropped, to complement the bowling unit, while Shaun Marsh returns after an injury earlier this summer.
“We consider Mitchell as a bowling all-rounder and should we decide to play a two pace and two spin bowling attack it is important to have that third seam bowling option if conditions suit,” Hohns added.
“Shaun is proven in sub-continent conditions and is coming off a hundred in his last Test match in Sri Lanka.
“He is a very versatile batsman who can slot in at the top or the middle of the order.”
Some of the squad will head to Dubai on January 29 to train, while the rest will follow after the Chappell-Hadlee Series in New Zealand. The first Test against top-ranked India begins in Pune on February 23.
Australia: Steve Smith (capt), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve O’Keefe, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade.