Australia’s Bowling options in Pakistan: 2022

Australia go on their first overseas tour since Ashes 2019.

Australia are going on an away tour for a Test for the first time since 2019. To add to their venture into the unknown, Australia are going to be playing in the subcontinent after three years and to further complicate things, Australia are going to Pakistan for the first time this century. Playing at home, Australia got accustomed to a rigid bowling attack. With three pacers, a seam bowling all-rounder and Nathan Lyon the bowling line-up was settled and there was no need to look for other spinners with Lyon doing so well.

With the tour being played in a region that can help spinners Australia has to contend with the challenge of playing a spinner who isn’t as experienced. They will have one thing in their favor though, and that is the assistance in Rawalpindi as the surface often helps pacers. In all likelihood Australia will likely go with two seamers, two spinners and an all-rounder. Let us now see what the combination is likely to be.

Seam Bowlers

Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Scott Boland are the primary contenders for the two seam options. Cummins is a certain starter with his recent form and the added responsibility as captain, leaving one spot for the other three. The front-runner for the second spot is likely to be Josh Hazlewood. Hazlewood has a decent record in the subcontinent and is known for his accuracy. He doesn’t bowl as fast as the others but can move the ball around and will be the best placed to make use of the reverse swing on offer.

A factor that may go against Hazlewood is his lack of game time in the long format. He played only one of the Ashes Test and his workload will be a concern. Mitchell Starc is the second option and he seems likely to be benched in the first game going by his form over the last year. He was the best bowler in the Ashes but recent form still isn’t promising along with his record in the subcontinent. He has the pace and a strong yorker which makes him a threat, but his erratic nature may keep him out for the first Test unless Australia decide to play all three of their star pacers.

Scott Boland made himself a contender after a wonderful debut in Melbourne and strong showing in the final few Tests of the Ashes. He is accurate, has a bold personality, bowls long spells and can be a surprise in Pakistan. This is his first visit to the subcontinent though, and the new conditions may be an issue that keeps him out of the side.

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Spin Options

Nathon Lyon is guaranteed to lead the spin attack but will need a partner. He has Ashton Agar and Mitchell Swepson with him. Swepson has travelled with the Test side for a long time and has the experience of being with the team which makes him a valuable candidate. His wrist-spin offers some variety as well and he is seen as the next big spinner in his team.

Ashton Agar’s batting though keeps him in the contest. He is a finger spinner and can offer control like Lyon, but may not be as aggressive. He is a handy batter lower down the order but is likely to miss out unless Australia decide to play all three, leaving out a seam-bowling all-rounder. Along with the three spinners, Australia have Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, who will definitely roll their arms over during the series.

The All-round options

Mitchell Marsh and Cameron Green are the all-round options on tour. Green has been a part of the eleven for a long time and is a certain starter as well. However, Green may have an increased workload which is something he is not used to, and that may have prompted the selectors to bring Marsh in as cover. There is also the case of Australia using Ashton Agar as the fifth bowler closing the door on both Green and Marsh.