Australia’s rising stars Todd Murphy and Matt Kuhnemann can forge long international careers and play not only on the subcontinent’s turning tracks, Daniel Vettori says.
The New Zealand spin bowling great and Australian assistant coach said he had been impressed with the control of the young duo who have 19 wickets between them in the Border-Gavaskar series and have provided an important foil to Nathan Lyon.
Lyon remains at the top of his game with 19 wickets for the series but will turn 36 next summer, and Vettori said Murphy and Kuhnemann showed they would be ready for opportunities in other conditions.
Australia will play six Tests in England for the World Test Championship final and Ashes in winter before a home summer against Pakistan and the West Indies followed by a two-Test tour of New Zealand.
The 22-year-old Murphy’s ability to alter his method of spin bowling to suit different pitches meant he could play a role anywhere in the world, Vettori said.
“I think that’s where you take confidence – that he can bowl the side spin, he can bowl the overspin like Nathan, he can chop and change between those roles,” he said.
“I think you get the confidence that he can transition into all style of pitches all around the world.”
Vettori said Queenslander Kuhnemann, who claimed his maiden Test five-wicket haul in Indore, would be able to pile pressure onto the world’s best batters.
“I think for Kuhney it’s his ability to turn the ball – I think he gets an increased amounts of revs on it, and so that’s going to be his differentiator,” he said.
“If he remains as consistent as he has been in there, then he can put a lot of pressure on. He gets a lot of drift and spins the ball hard.
“So I think that’s the other factor that allows you to think these guys can compete on all kinds of surfaces.”
Vettori praised the consistency of the two rookie spinners during the first three Tests, singling out Murphy’s spell to Virat Kohli in Indore that resulted in the wicket of the Indian star.
“Nathan and Matt got all the wickets … but his spell allowed everyone to work around him and take wickets,” he said.
“I think that probably embodies that series of balls that he bowled to Kohli, and the fact that I don’t think Kohli has ever been stumped before in a Test match.”
Vettori said he felt for departed squad member Ashton Agar, who left India to find his rhythm and get more game time ahead of the upcoming one-day series after he was overlooked for Murphy in the first Test.
“The guys who are perennial tourists – second spinners, fourth seamers in a group – they’re valuable to a group, but they don’t actually get that game time,” he said.
“It is a tricky thing. I think guys sometimes get a little bit left behind because they’re important to the squad but they can’t get a game, but you don’t want to send them home; it’s a really hard juggling act.”