Mitch Swepson stars amid Queensland spin bowler dilemma

Mitch Swepson is frustrated by Queensland’s rotation of him and fellow Test spinner Matt Kuhnemann but is enjoying focusing on red ball cricket after demolishing Victoria on Tuesday.

Swepson claimed the final two wickets on Day 4 of the Sheffield Shield clash at Mackay to finish with a five-wicket haul as the Bulls thrashed Victoria by an innings and 104 runs.

The 30-year-old leg-spinner, who has played four Tests but fell behind Kuhnemann in the Australian pecking order in India earlier this year, has been confined to the Shield so far this season as the left-armer plays in the Marsh Cup.

Queensland is yet to encounter conditions where the duo can play together, instead choosing to give each a format to ply their trade and maintain touch.

Swepson has made a strong start to the Shield season with 10 wickets at 17 in his two matches, but is unlikely to displace Kuhnemann from the one-day side against Victoria on Thursday after the finger spinner claimed 2-39 in a tight win over NSW last week.

He said the Bulls were making the best of a difficult situation, and was enjoying “knuckling down” on the longer format after only playing five first-class games last summer.

“You want to be playing as much cricket as you can, and the luxury we have at this stage is we’ve got two spinners who have played for Australia, and juggling that can be tough at times,” Swepson said.

“I couldn’t speak higher of Kuhney, he’s a great bowler and it’s unfortunate for him that he’s not getting overs during the Shield games and I’m sure he’s frustrated with that, likewise me not being able to play one-day cricket.

“I’m really enjoying the fact that I can really knuckle down and focus on my red ball game at the moment, and it seems to be helping. The ball’s coming out nicely and the wickets are coming as well.”

Swepson was poised to play on February’s Indian tour after taking the second spinner duties on previous trips to Pakistan and Sri Lanka, but was leapfrogged by Kuhnemann after returning home for the birth of his child in the lead up to the second Test in Delhi.

He said he hoped the pair could bowl together more during what is expected to be a hot and dry season across the country.

Peter Handscomb (43) and Todd Murphy (40) resisted the Bulls for more than an hour on Day 4 at Mackay, before Jack Wildermuth had Handscomb caught behind and Swepson took the final two wickets in the next over.

Handscomb said there was no reason to panic for Victoria despite a second heavy loss, with few changes from last season’s side which made the Sheffield Shield final.

“If we’re changing stuff now after just a short start without playing any games at home, it’s probably not the right way to go about it,” he said.

“We know that they have worked over the last couple of years, so we don’t need to be jumping at shadows.

“We’ll stay calm, we’ll keep doing what we’re doing and trust in that process knowing that by doing that, it will change and we’ll start to see the results again.”

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