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Spin-heavy Aussies coming over for tour

Spin-heavy Aussies coming over for tour
Highlights

Australia named a spin-heavy 16-man squad with four specialist slow bowlers in it for their four-match Test tour of India in February-March.

Sydney: Australia named a spin-heavy 16-man squad with four specialist slow bowlers in it for their four-match Test tour of India in February-March. Uncapped leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson was included in the team to boost the spin contingent while all-rounder Glenn Maxwell makes a Test comeback after more than two years.

The squad, to be led by Steve Smith, includes six specialist batsmen, four spinners, three pace bowlers, two all-rounders and a wicket-keeper. The Test series against top-ranked India begins on February 23 in Pune, followed by matches in Bangalore (March 4-8), Ranchi (March 16-20) and Dharamsala (March 25-29).

With the inclusion of only three fast-bowlers in the squad, the National Selection Panel will reassess the fast bowling stocks after the second Test in Bangalore, Cricket Australia said. Australia has not won a Test in India since 2004, and the four-Test series is expected to be a stern test for skipper Smith and his team.

Speaking on the make-up of the squad, interim national selector Trevor Hohns said the panel chose an additional spin bowler to allow as many options as possible. "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," Hohns said.

Queenslander Swepson, 23, joins lead spinner Nathan Lyon and left-arm orthodox Ashton Agar and Steve O'Keefe. Swepson, whose cause has been championed by legendary Shane Warne, is the only member of the squad yet to play Test cricket.

Mitchell Marsh returned to the squad after being axed early in the home summer, and will provide a valuable extra seam-bowling option in a squad featuring only three specialist fast men in Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Jackson Bird.

Australia squad: Steve Smith (captain), 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 (w/k).

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