The decision to overlook Ashton Agar for the second Test against India has been challenged, after Australian selectors opted to play Matthew Kuhnemann as one of three spinners in Delhi.

Selectors named Nathan Lyon, Todd Murphy and debutant Kuhnemann, who only arrived in India earlier this week, as a replacement for Mitch Swepson.

Swepson has returned to Australia for the birth of his first child but is expected to fly back to India ahead of the third Test.

Agar was one of four spinners named in the original tour squad, while he played in Australia’s last Test on home soil, against South Africa in Sydney in early January.

The left-armer failed to take a wicket against the Proteas, returning the figures of 0-58 from 22 overs across two innings.

Australian selector Tony Dodemaide told media in India Agar’s “red-ball game” was not where the spinner “wants it to be”.

Retired Australian spinner Nathan Hauritz said Agar had been unfairly treated by selectors.

“I thought Ashton really deserved an opportunity, and it will be really tough for him at the moment and it will not matter what a selector … says at the moment,” he told ABC Sport.

“Having a bloke (Kuhnemann) fly in, and even if he did bowl well in the nets for three or four days, it’s irrelevant to me.

“It’s like, what message are you sending to this kid (Agar)? Pick him in a Test, take him on a tour and then you don’t play him in either of the Tests.

“It’s a pretty poor message … I’m not a big fan of it at all.”

Matthew Kuhnemann of Australia is congratulated by Steve Smith
Matthew Kuhnemann (left) is making his Test debut in Delhi.(Getty Images: Robert Cianflone)

While describing Kuhnemann as an “outstanding” spinner, Hauritz said Agar deserved answers as to why he was not selected to play in Delhi.

“I would love to know the message why he wasn’t picked,” he said.

“It can’t just be because his red-ball cricket isn’t up to scratch in the nets. I don’t think that’s a real fair evaluation. When you’re bowling in the nets it’s completely different.”

Hauritz added: “If you’re going to take this guy over, you’ve got to play him.”

Former Australia coach John Buchanan said Agar’s omission was “surprising”.

“From media reports, Agar hasn’t necessarily been performing as well as he would like in the nets and, of course, that is the only gauge that really they have,” he said.

“There are no lead-up games, there are no intervening games between Test matches, so the only way selections can be made is based on what they have done just prior to coming on tour.”