‘Best since Lyon’: Uncapped spinner Todd Murphy receives high praise ahead of India tour

Uncapped off-spinner Todd Murphy has been turning more heads that cricket balls in recent months, bolting his way into the Australian Test squad for their massive tour of India.

The 22-year-old has burst onto the scene for Victoria over the past year, taking 29 wickets in just seven appearances in the Sheffield Shield competition.

Murphy has also become a regular in the Big Bash for the Sixers, all while being publicly pushed for a Test call-up by the likes of Kerry O’Keeffe. 

With four crucial matches away from home against an out of form Indian side, Murphy is in line for a shock Baggy Green and could partner with fellow right-arm offie Nathan Lyon during the series.

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Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Murphy admitted it was a shock to receive the phone call from Aussie selectors and is looking forward to the experience.

“It took a couple of hours for me to sort of realise what’s about to happen,” he said.

“I think it has sunk in now and it’s really exciting. I’m under no illusions as to how difficult it might be at times and how well they do play spin bowling.

“I’m going over there really open to learning and whatever comes from that.

“If that means playing, awesome, but the learning I get out of it is gonna hold me in good stead going forward.”

The opportunity to work under Lyon, who is Australia’s greatest off-spinner in history with well over 400 Test wickets, is only going to help Murphy’s push to be the long-term replacement.

Murphy has the full support of head selector George Bailey, who is putting his faith the rising star to make an impact in the sub-continent conditions.

“We don’t pick someone unless we think they are ready to perform, if they get an opportunity,” he said.

“He‘s a very humble, hard-working kid. You forget that he’s only 22 years old.

“He‘s a fierce competitor…he wants to have the ball in his hand and wants to impact the result.”

Murphy’s first-class average of 25.20 is far better than fellow back-up spinners Mitch Swepson and Ashton Agar, although from a much smaller sample size given his limited appearances to date for Victoria.

Steve O’Keefe – a Sixers teammate in the BBL and a man who knows all about succeeding in India – believes that Murphy has what it takes to take wickets in the Test arena.

“He‘s as good an off-spinner as I’ve seen since Nathan Lyon,” he told foxsports.com.au.

“The ball comes out of his hand beautifully, he‘s been working on his variations. He’s going to be a star for the Sixers going forward, and also for the Australian cricket team when the time comes.

“Every year, he just seems to get a little bit better and add to that pile of new skills.”

Murhpy will travel with the 18-man Aussie squad ahead of the first match on February 9th. 

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