Swepson, who was the first specialist legspinner to make his Test debut for Australia’s men’s team since 2009, managed just two wickets in his two outings, both in his first innings. He sent down 53.4 barren overs in the second innings of the Karachi Test as Australia were denied victory across the last two days.
“I do believe Mitch Swepson has a big career in international cricket just from seeing him day-in, day-out at Queensland standing at first slip, I know what a class bowler he is. Sometimes these things take a little bit of time, he was really unlucky in Pakistan, had a lot of chances that went down, a few 50-50 calls that went against him, and if that goes the other way that could just open the floodgates. I think he’s very close to something really special.”
National selector George Bailey believes Swepson will have benefited significantly from his length stints at the bowling crease even if wickets proved hard to come by.
“[It was] just a great challenge for Swep to see what that step up was like and to have the opportunity to pump a huge amount of overs and get that challenge of what it’s like to try and work top-order batsmen out,” he said. “Knowing Swep and chatting to him post it, he sets pretty high standards for himself. And I think given the impact he’s had with Queensland over the last couple of years when he gets an opportunity to bowl that much he expects to impact the result.
“So I know there was times he was a little frustrated that he wasn’t able to impact on the scoreboard from a wickets perspective but his ability to keep challenging and learn about what it’s like coming around the wicket, over the wicket, different fields to be able to set, how to try and break through against those world-class batters was fantastic. He’ll only get better at it. There’s no other opportunity that you can provide that can fast-track that learning than what he’s just had.”
“Think the wickets will be slightly more sporting, especially with two matches in Galle, [they are] traditionally very spin-friendly wickets right from the first session,” Khawaja said. “Will be another challenge for us. Our record on the subcontinent over the last ten years hasn’t been great – winning in Pakistan was our first victory for a long time – but we’ve got a very well-balanced team.
“I’ve been around Australian cricket a long time, I wouldn’t say this if I didn’t believe it, think we’ve got one of the most balanced teams we have especially when we talk about playing spin in the subcontinent. This is one of the better teams we’ve had for those conditions.”