Australia’s decision to drop spinner Todd Murphy ahead of the Old Trafford Test have raised some eyebrows and experts questioning their tactics.
England’s Moeen Ali had previously cautioned against leaving out a strike spinner at Old Trafford, a venue renowned for hosting Shane Warne’s legendary Ball of Century. Ali’s performance on Wednesday afternoon proved his point.
His first delivery in the second spell sharply spun, surprising many, and a few overs later, he skillfully trapped Marnus Labuschagne on the pads for 50.
Speaking about the absence of a spinner, Australian legend Ricky Ponting expressed his surprise, saying on Sky Sports, “I was surprised they didn’t go in with (a spinner)… you can be found out very easily.”
Former Australian captain Mark Taylor also chimed stating, “Australia is bowling last in this Test match, you would have loved to have a spinner at your disposal.”
Former England opener Mark Butcher was stunned by the omission and told, “Not playing a spin bowler blows my mind a bit… it feels quite defensive. They don’t have the ability to change it up should things not work with the seam bowlers.”
Former New Zealand wicketkeeper Ian Smith also criticized the decision and the lack of faith in Todd Murphy. He warned that Australia might face consequences if they get caught short on a turning pitch, stating, “They would never have considered this if Nathan Lyon was available… They might get embarrassed and caught short here and level the series.”
Whereas, Pat Cummins expressed confidence in part-timer Travis Head’s abilities saying, “Even when he started his career, (Head) was the frontline spinner in ODI cricket. He defends himself well, uses a bit of drift as much as spin, and he’s quite clever. We have a lot of confidence in his bowling.”