“I’d love to see him getting another trial at it now because we know how good he is. He can bat as well.”
Australian coach Justin Langer floated playing five bowlers at the MCG on Boxing Day given the pitch had recently heavily favoured batsmen. Warne did not agree with Langer.
“The Australian way is to play four bowlers,” Warne said. “I think Marnus Labuschagne is bowling very good part time leg spin. I think Travis Head can bowl some off spin and if you need to Matty Wade could bowl a couple of overs.”
He added that either Jhye Richardson or Riley Meredith should have been in the Test squad over Siddle so as to give them the invaluable experience of being around the Australia Test set up.
Warne, the world’s greatest ever leg spinner, also implored the states to do more to help more spinners be better prepared for Test cricket.
Finger spinner Ashton Agar and left-arm wrist spinner Steve O’Keefe have looked to be the preferred options to play with or instead of Nathan Lyon of late, should he be unavailable, but Warne threw his support behind the Queenslander Swepson.
“Nathan Lyon is our number one spinner and if anything happens to Nathan Lyon we’re in real trouble because he’s so good,” Warne said.
“But I think we have got to look at these next spinners. It’s up to each state side to play these young spinners in Sheffield Shield games so they get used to bowling in all conditions.
“They can’t say, ‘Well the conditions don’t really suit, so we will leave the spinner out’. Spinners in all states have to have exposure to different conditions.
“States have to remember they’re not just there for their own state, they’re the for the betterment of Australian cricket. They’ve got to encourage these young spinners.
“I think Swepson has elevated himself already this year. I think if something happened to Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Swepson would probably come into the side.
“Keep picking him and let him play in all the Shield games because I think he could even play in the Sydney Test as a second spinner to look at the second spinning option.”
Swepson has taken 24 wickets this Sheffield Shield season at an average of 38.16.
His most eye catching performance came in Queensland’s win over Victoria at the MCG where he took seven wickets, including 3/17 in the second innings to help bowl his side to victory.
Swepson was called into the Australia squad before for the 2017 tour of India, while O’Keefe’s last of his nine Test matches was against Bangladesh in Chattogram in September 2017. Agar has not played a Test since he earned his fourth cap in that same Chattogram Test as O’Keefe.
Agar trained with the Australian squad in Perth and was brought into the Australian squad for the match against England at the SCG two years ago.
Anthony is a sports reporter at The Age.