Australian cricket legend Ian Healy is shocked by the team management’s decision to include two off-spinners -- Nathan Lyon and young Todd Murphy -- who have almost similar action and have left the visitors shorn of variety and variation in the slow-bowling department.
India, after bundling out the visitors for 177 on day one thanks to Ravindra Jadeja’s five-for, dominated with the bat as well and notched up 77 for one, negotiating 17 overs of spin from veteran Lyon and Murphy with ease.
“In my eyes, probably not the right selection call,” Healy told ‘SEN Radio’ on Friday, indicating he wasn’t happy with Australia’s decision to debut Murphy in the first Test at Nagpur.
The former wicketkeeper added that either one of Ashton Agar or Mitchell Swepson -- both of whom have played Test cricket -- would have been a better choice in the playing XI.
“I think he (Murphy) can bowl extremely well and he’s right in the shadow of Nathan Lyon for whenever he’s needed, but for me, we’ve left on the bench our most experienced spinners in Ashton Agar and Mitch Swepson.
“If we’re not going to use them yesterday (Thursday), they might as well pack their Baggy Greens away. I think we needed more variety and more experience,” opined Healy.
With Jadeja ripping through the Australian middle-order, someone like left-arm spinner Agar could have been more successful on the Nagpur pitch, but his exclusion, along with that of prolific run-getter Travis Head -- who can double up as a part-time spinner -- could have given the visitors more variation in their spin bowling.
“We change bowlers and we have another off-spinner (Murphy) on. We needed a left-arm orthodox (Agar) or a leg spinner to go with an off-spinner and Travis Head’s part-time off-spin and if you have to throw in Marnus (Labuschagne) as a leg spinner, do it, or pick Swepson as well,” added Healy.
“But if you pick Swepson, like Murphy, you needed Head or Agar in there to give us a bit longer batting.” The 59-year-old Healy hoped Pat Cummins’ side will bowl with more purpose in the days to come and claw back in the opening Test.
“I’d like to see them bowl with a bit more courage today, which I think they will.”