Queensland spinner Matthew Kuhnemann will look to continue pushing his case for Ashes selection this winter, penning a County Championship deal with Durham.
On Wednesday, Durham confirmed the signing of Kuhnemann for the 2023 season after a planned deal with compatriot Todd Murphy fell through.
Murphy, who battled a minor side strain throughout the recent Border-Gavaskar Trophy, is reportedly still nursing an injury, and Cricket Australia has blocked the 22-year-old’s availability for the first half of County Championship matches to monitor his workload, according to The Cricketer. However, Durham remain hopeful of signing Murphy for the second part of their County Championship campaign, after the Ashes series wraps up in early August.
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If Kuhnemann puts together a handful of stellar performances for Durham, it could pressure George Bailey and the selection panel to inject the 26-year-old into Australia’s Ashes squad. However, Murphy now won’t have that opportunity.
“I’m really excited to be joining Durham for the upcoming county season,” Kuhnemann said in a statement.
“I look forward to playing with some world class players and contributing to some wins for the club throughout the summer. I can’t wait to get over there and meet everyone.”
Kuhnemann and Murphy made their Test debuts in India last month, each taking five-wicket hauls during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
While veteran tweaker Nathan Lyon is guaranteed a spot in Australia’s Ashes squad, Kuhnemann and Murphy aren’t locks for the marquee series despite impressive performance in India. Lyon served as Australia’s lone strike spinner during the 2019 series in England, where seamers have traditionally dominated.
Murphy is considered the country’s second-best red-ball spinner, but Kuhnemann offers a point of variation with his left-arm orthodox, turning the ball the opposite direction from Lyon.
“We are very excited to have secured another exciting young spin talent in Matthew Kuhnemann,” former Australian Test batter Marcus North, Durham’s Director of Cricket, said in a statement.
“Matt impressed in India for Australia and is in a great place with his game, we are really looking forward to him joining us next week and seeing him perform in the County Championship.
“We were keen to bring in a spinner that will enable us to further strengthen and balance our Championship side and with the signing of Matt, that now helps us to be effective in all conditions.
“We are obviously disappointed that Todd Murphy will not be joining as in the early part of the season as planned, but we look forward to welcoming him to the club later in the summer.”
Durham’s season gets underway next Thursday, facing Sussex at the County Cricket Ground in Hove.
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