Matt Kuhnemann and Australia's unlikely three-headed monster

Australia finally has spin options, plus some notes on Bangladesh-England.

Matt Kuhenmann has formed a three-headed spin monster that two weeks ago would have been hilarious to suggest. And he is still a little silly. He’s like an intern who has ended up as senior vice president of marketing because he’s the only one who understands TikTok. The entire thing was accidental, they took every spinner in Australia before coming up with his name. Last year he was trying to get jobs in club cricket in England, and now he's an opening bowler against India.

Kuhnemann works so well for Australia because he is potentially going to fill a role that most non-Asian teams struggle with, the specialist second spinner for Asian conditions.

The non-Asian teams struggle to find one spinner, let alone two. (Shout out to South Africa who suddenly have heaps). Think back to when New Zealand toured India. They didn't have a frontline spinner that could compete with batters on spinning wickets. But they still had Ajaz Patel, who they don't use at home. If Australia had him along with Nathan Lyon, that would be an ideal pairing.

Kuhnemann could be that player. Some of this may be a projection from me because he has only played 15 first class games. But Kuhnemann doesn't profile as someone who can bowl in all situations. He looks like someone who is set up to bowl in Asia.

And that might sound like a bad thing, but Australia hasn't had a bowler like this in a long time. Steve O'Keefe should have been used this way and wasn't. So outside of Lyon, he is the only spinner with more than five Tests in Asia in the last decade. You look at this list, and you realise what a great position Australia is suddenly in.

They still have Lyon, whose main talent is bowling at home, and chipping in everywhere else. Nothing in his record suggests he is about to have a drop-off, and he has a lot of knowledge about travelling the world. That is a good player to have. But he is clearly not a great spinner in Asia. And so you need another option to go with him.

That was supposed to be Ashton Agar, who, despite making his debut in 2013, managed to play only two Tests in Asia. He was going to play but somehow went from next in line to not even in the country. I can't wait for the next season of the serial podcast on how that all happened.

Leg spinner Mitchell Swepson was in India but scheduled the birth of his child poorly. I am still not sure where he fits in. He struggled in Pakistan, but so do all bowlers. But was very good in Sri Lanka. This would have been an interesting series for him to play in to get a good idea of where he really is.

Jon Holland was the guy who I thought made the most sense to turn into an Asian specialist. He bowled like that in Australia, but he struggled in the UAE and Sri Lanka. His form was better this year than Kuhnemann, but I don't think there was a genuine push for him to return.

Lest we forget Xavier Doherty, who probably has a far worse record at international cricket than he should, but who also was never going to be a quality Test spinner. His average of 78 is really jarring.

And then you get to all the random batters who have bowled over the years. If you didn't have them on this list it would be really quite short. Luckily it is just the last ten years, so it doesn't have Cameron White.

So the interesting thing is outside of O'Keefe, the next best spinners are Kuhnemann and Todd Murphy. That is amazing in itself. Kuhnemann was trying to find a nice brunch in Melbourne when he got the call-up. Murphy just started playing eight minutes ago.

And it wasn't like Murphy was expected to play either. His India adventure was more to get experience out there and maybe play as the third spinner if he outbowled Swepson in the nets. Instead, after the first game people wanted him over Nathan Lyon forever. Murphy does look like a legit talent, and best case scenario he takes over Lyon and has the game to bowl around the world.

But the one thing Lyon never had was a proper number two. This list is a living testament to the fact Lyon was on his own. So if Kuhnemann and Murphy are as good as they currently appear, Murphy should fill the role of the main spinner, with Kuhnemann coming in when they need a second spinner.

Murphy looks like he can compete anywhere. And from Kuhnemann's record, he doesn't. Murphy actually hasn't had a bad first class game yet. Now it isn't many. But Kuhnemann has played only a handful more and he's struggled in a few. His record wasn't that impressive until he turned up for the second Test.

But he can bowl in these conditions. Not since O'Keefe has an Australian spinner looked like he was made for this job. Now, it's early, he may develop or even regress. And Murphy is even harder to project.

However, they are already the equal third highest on this list. They are not just promising into the future, they have bowled well here and now.

It would be hard to argue that Australia has three of their best spinners of the last decade in this team. And Swepson is over there as well. This isn't Cameron White, Jason Krejza, Beau Casson and Bryce McGain.

This is the best Australian spin that has been since Warne/MacGill/Miller. It is obviously not at that level. But the age, experience and skills of these players overlap really well. Outside of the fact none of them bat, it's an excellent spot to be in.

Today was a good day to be Matt Kuhnemann. The equal third-highest Australian spinner wicket-taker in Asia in ten years. A third head of the greatest spin bowling threat Australia has had since they actually produced regular spinners.

Bangladesh vs England

Najmul Hossain Shanto

Today was Shanto’s highest ODI score, which is not that surprising, as it was only 38 before this game. It was a good knock and considering almost no one else made runs in the game it probably stands a lot more. Had Bangladesh won, it would have been this innings that did it.

One key note is how he played high pace. He was backing away, and it clearly bothered him. Now it was Wood and Archer, so that is really fast. Even Tamim Iqbal was shook. But it is something to keep an eye on.

Adil Rashid V Sarah Glenn

So something was very clear during the England bowling innings, Adil Rashid was bowling very slow. He was spinning it sideways, so that is probably why. But it was notable how slow he was, he revisited a few balls at 70KPH, which is sub-Matt Parkinson speeds.

But I checked with CricViz what speeds the wrist spinners in the Women’s World Cup were clocking, and they had Sarah Glenn at 75KPH. That is very high, and Rashid was very low.

Dawid Malan

The ‘stat-padding’ Malan was back, just knocking the ball around when everyone else was playing to win. Weirdly, as someone in the early adopters of Malan doesn’t fit England’s plan, I have come around to him quite a bit, partly because I think they need an adult in the room.

This was a game England should have lost. Their batters struggled with the spinners, but also Taskin Ahmed (who bowls great, he’s so much better now).

Malan just getting in - and it was a pitch where that seemed hard - was tough, and he was never fully in control until he was well past 50. But a bit like that game in South Africa that England lost, when you look back at it, yeah he takes a while to get going, but he bats like it’s important to stay in. And England having one person like that might matter in a World Cup.