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Murphy managing new workload challenges at end of a big year

The offspinner has been recovering from a shoulder problem that has lingered since the Ashes

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Todd Murphy played six Tests this year but may have to wait a while for his next  •  ECB via Getty Images

Todd Murphy played six Tests this year but may have to wait a while for his next  •  ECB via Getty Images

Todd Murphy is still getting used to the extra workload his body has been put through this year during his emergence as a Test bowler, but is hopeful he will be fit for the Prime Minister's XI game against Pakistan in Canberra next week.
Offspinner Murphy has missed Victoria's last two Sheffield Shield matches due to shoulder soreness but returned to bowling on Wednesday with a view to fulfilling his selection in what is effectively an Australia A side for Pakistan's pre-Test warm-up.
Murphy made his Test debut against India in Nagpur in February where he claimed 7 for 124 on the back of just seven first-class matches - one of which was last year's PM's XI against West Indies - and went on to play all four matches in that series before somewhat unexpectedly being needed in the Ashes after Nathan Lyon's calf injury at Lord's.
He had already shelved a county deal before the Ashes to manage his workloads, but he returned from the UK with some niggles which flared again after four Sheffield Shield outings this season - the last of which saw him bowl 45 overs against Tasmania.
"It's been a pretty big 12 months and something I hadn't been exposed to, so it's just been about trying to manage myself through that," Murphy said. "There have been challenges with a few little niggles and think the shoulder is just another one of that.
"It was a bit flared up after the UK series then a few Shield games with a high workload and some one-day cricket, it sort of fatigued a bit. So used the opportunity to try and give it a chance to settle down and strengthen it back up for what will hopefully be a pretty busy summer across the board then also some Shield cricket to finish the year. Had in mind it's a long summer and don't want to burn myself too early."
Murphy hopes to play the BBL with Sydney Sixers through December and January then the last four rounds of Sheffield Shield although that will depend on whether he is selected as back-up in the squad for the New Zealand Test tour.
With Lyon having successfully returned from his calf injury he is likely to have to wait a considerable time for his next Test - unless the SCG offers conditions conducive for two spinners - but his experience of the Ashes tour means he always wants to be ready to go.
"It's one of those ones that you always want to make sure you are ready, but Nath's been so durable so even going over to England I probably didn't have it my mind that there would be an opportunity arise that means I would get a game," Murphy said.
"Obviously it was really disappointing to see him go down with an injury, but it probably reinforces the importance of having a squad that is ready to perform. For me it's really important to be in a position that if that unfortunately does happen again - fingers crossed it doesn't - but if something does arise that I'm in a place that I can take it."
With the two Tests in New Zealand unlikely to require extra frontline spin resources, Murphy's next opportunity may not come until the tour of Sri Lanka in early 2025, but whenever he next gets his chance he feels this year will hold him in good stead.
"Looking forward it's about putting myself in the best place I can for any opportunities that arise down the track," he said. "The intensity of both tours [India and the Ashes] was something I hadn't experienced before. So being exposed to that early on is going to set me up going forward and it was great to be a part of. Hopefully in a home summer I can build off that and if there is an opportunity I'm set up to go well."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo