Seamer-friendly Shield pitches hurting hunt for Test spinner

The Sydney Morning Herald Sports 1 week ago

Sheffield Shield pitches are cruelling Australia's hunt for its next Test spinner, Queensland tweaker Mitchell Swepson says.

The legspinner is welcoming heat from national selectors for domestic spinners to perform as they seek a back-up to Test stalwart Nathan Lyon.

But Swepson says seamer-friendly Shield pitches around the nation aren't helping spinners push their case for national selection.

"It has been tough at the moment for spinners in Sheffield Shield," Swepson told SEN on Thursday.

"The conditions don't really suit at all grounds for spinners to play.

"I obviously didn't play the first two games at the Gabba there in seaming conditions.

Mitch Swepson says Shield pitches are not prepared for spinners.

"I know a few states don't play spinners at their home grounds either, it has been quite tough for spin bowlers in the country."

Swepson and NSW stalwart Steve O'Keefe are the Shield's leading spin bowling wicket-takers this season, with 10 apiece.

But there are 18 fast bowlers with more Shield wickets than the duo.

Australian selector Trevor Hohns on Tuesday said the search was on for spin support to Nathan Lyon, particularly with a Sydney Test match against New Zealand looming in the New Year.

"It is a bit of an issue for us, we're really focusing on our spin bowling department at the moment," Hohns said.

"We will be putting a couple of spinners on notice to make sure they are doing extra work as required."

Swepson, who in 2017 was a Test squad member for tours of India and Bangladesh without winning a cap, welcomed Hohns' call.

"You get excited when you hear things like that," the 26-year-old said.

"It has been communicated before that they're looking for someone to step up into that role ... there is a bit of a gap between Nathan Lyon and the rest of the guys coming through.

"They [the selectors] are probably a little bit worried about our spin bowling stocks in the country at the moment.

"It gives a bit of hope, I guess, to the guys that are playing Shield cricket at the moment for their state.

"If you put a couple of good performances together, you never know what might happen because there is that opportunity there.

"For me, that is how I see it, as an opportunity to put your name up there.

"But at the same time, I wasn't playing the first couple of games of the year, you don't want to look too far ahead."


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