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Swepson ready to be Australia's first front-line leggie since Smith

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31st December, 2019
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Mitchell Swepson says he will have earned his spot in Australia’s Test squad if he is picked for the SCG Test against New Zealand, set to become Australia’s first front-line leg-spinner since Steve Smith.

Swepson arrived in Sydney on Tuesday with the Australian team after the Boxing Day Test domination, ready to begin preparations for a possible debut against New Zealand at the SCG.

For a long time considered a future star, Swepson toured with Australia to India and Bangladesh in 2017 but did not feature in any Tests.

But he says he’s now earned his spot if Australia blood him given the 2-0 scoreline, as he is a far better bowler than he was two-and-a-half years ago.

“I think I have improved a lot since then,” Swepson said.

“Back then I was picked more on potential., Being a younger player I was picked more on potential. I have had a couple more years now in first-class cricket.

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“I think coming back this time I have probably earned my spot a little more on performances rather than potential.”

Swepson’s proof is in his Shield season this summer.

He is the leading leg-spinning wicket-taker in the competition, with 12 scalps at 26.59.

Notably, the Queenslander has conceded just 2.67 runs an over, well down on the 3.78 he went for last year after making a number of small technical adjustments.

“As a leg-spinner you’re quite an attacking option but I wanted to become a lot more consistent and try and go for a few less runs,” Swepson said.

“I’ve done a bit of work with John Davison up in Queensland, he’s been great over my whole career.”

For Swepson to play, Australia would have resting one of their fast bowlers or opt to go in with just six batsmen.

If picked, it will mark the first time Australia has selected a leg-spinner as one of their front-line bowlers since Smith’s debut series against Pakistan in 2010.

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Since then, Nathan Lyon has been at the helm with fellow finger spinners Stephen O’Keefe, Jon Holland, Ashton Agar, Michael Beer and Xavier Doherty the other options utilised.

The likes of Marnus Labuschagne and Smith have instead been used as the only wrist spinners while playing as batsmen, despite Shane Warne inspiring a generation of leg-spinners.

“The Shield competition at the moment is quite tough for spinners,” Swepson admitted.

“It’s something you’ve got to work hard on.”

© AAP