Boyce tipped to put England in a spin

He’s not Shane Warne, as newly-installed skipper Steve Smith cheerfully pointed out, but Australia hold grand hopes for Twenty20 specialist legspinner Cameron Boyce.

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Boyce’s modest first class record is far overshadowed by his exceptional T20 performances both at international and domestic level – numbers which will have England’s batsmen in a spin.

The 26-year-old will play in Monday’s one-off T20 clash against England in Cardiff, but will not feature in the one-day series to follow.

It is all part of Australia’s plan to lay the foundations for the World T20 tournament in India in March.

“There’s a T20 World Cup coming up in not too long, so we need these guys to play as much as they can,” captain Steve Smith said.

“He’s got a lot of skill, got a lot of variation. It’s going to be a good test for him bowling out here, with the short, straight boundaries and the short boundary on one side.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing how he goes.”

Smith is a fan of Boyce’s reading of the game and has confidence in him to excel, but he quickly put an end to any Warne comparisons – even before they were being made.

“We’ll see how we go. He’s obviously got his own set of skills. He’s obviously very different to Shane Warne, if that’s what you’re alluding to,” Smith remarked, when asked about Boyce in relation to England’s frailties against leg spin bowling over the years.

Warne comparisons aside, Boyce’s T20 record is undeniably world class, as evidenced by his career average of 32 wickets at 18.75 apiece.

When donning the green and gold, and Monday’s appearance will be his fifth for Australia, the Queenslander’s record is even greater – six wickets at an average of 13.66.

Although very much in the formative stages of his international career, Boyce’s numbers stack up against the best of the best, with Sri Lanka’s Ajantha Mendis’ average of 14.42 considered the benchmark of short-form spin bowling.

“I think as a leg spinner you’ve really got to read the batsmen quite well. I think he does that,” Smith added.

“I think he knows when someone is going to step down at him and try to hit him for six. And when they’re going to sit back.

“I think he adjusts his length and his pace quite well so I’m looking forward to seeing him bowl out here.”