Home » ‘So nervous’: Aussie spinner shines on debut

‘So nervous’: Aussie spinner shines on debut

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This time last week Matthew Kuhnemann didn’t think he’d be playing for Australia, but he stepped up to the mark on debut in Sri Lanka.

Newly capped Australian spinner Matthew Kuhnemann was already nervous ahead of his one-day international debut, then captain Aaron Finch told him he’d be opening the bowling against Sri Lanka.

It had been a whirlwind 24 hours for the left-armer from Queensland who was about to board the bus with the Australian A squad when he got the tap there were bigger fish to fry.

A side injury to Ashton Agar, which could sideline him from the start of the two-Test series in Sri Lanka as well as the remaining three ODIs, opened the door for Kuhnemann, who made a more than solid international debut.

Despite his nerves, the 25-year-old, who has only played 10 first class games for Queensland, stepped up to take 2-48 off his 10 overs, the best return of anyone in the Australian attack.

While the Australian batsmen couldn’t get the job down, managing just 189 in the chase for the home team’s 9-220, Kuhnemann showed there was depth in the national spin ranks and possibly even put himself in the frame for a Test call-up.

“It’s been a crazy 24 hours. We were on our way to get on the team bus for the Aussie A squad,” Kuhnemann said after his maiden international.

“I got a tap on the shoulder from the selector on tour, and he told myself and (Travis) Head to pack our bags and get to Kandy as soon as possible.

“It‘s been pretty crazy, pretty overwhelmed at the moment.

“I was so nervous. When Finchy told me I was going to open the bowling alongside Josh (Hazlewood), I didn’t know what to expect.

“I’m pretty lucky he told me last minute because I would have been even more nervous.”

Kuhnemann, who was presented his cap by fellow Queenslander Marnus Labuschagne, which he said was “pretty emotional”, snared a wicket early to calm the nerves.

He said talking to fellow spinners Mitchell Swepson and Agar before the game also helped him dial in his focus.

“Sweppo has always been great for me back home in Queensland,” he said.

“But even just to play in this team, with all these players, it’s so special.”

Kuhnemann said he’d be less nervous should be play again in any of the final three games but wasn’t prepared to think too far ahead, and that includes the potential to join the Test squad.

“If you told me 24 hours ago I was going to play for my country, I would have laughed at you,” he said.

“But it’s a funny game and you never know what can happen.”

Originally published as Matthew Kuhnemann was so impressive in his first ODI he could even be in the Test frame sooner than he thinks

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