Tour game not needed before India series, insists Australia head coach Andrew McDonald | Cricket News


SYDNEY: Australia head coach Andrew McDonald are confident that their ‘no tour play’ policy on overseas tours will serve them well in India’s four-game Test series in February-March.
Australia are unlikely to play any tour matches before the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and would arrive in India just a week before the first Test, starting in Nagpur on February 9.
The focus would be on keeping mental and physical cool rather than arriving much earlier to play a warm-up game and acclimate to the conditions, McDonald said.
Australia are aiming for their first series victory in India in 19 years.
“No touring game is something we’ve been doing for the past few series, before embarking on overseas tours,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“We feel like we don’t need this match training as such. We’re going to India about a week after the first game. We didn’t want to stress too much about preparation.
A similar approach proved successful when they won a three-match series in Pakistan by a 1-0 margin in March last year.
Meanwhile, the Aussie batters prepared on scarified pitches at a camp in Melbourne and arrived just a week before the first Test in Rawalpindi.
“We think seven days is plenty of time to prepare and ensure we maintain freshness throughout the four rounds of test matches,” McDonald said.
“We had success going to Pakistan. We had a shortened time on the pitch there.
This time they have planned a three-day camp in Sydney for all players not involved in the Big Bash League Finals before embarking on the grueling tour.
“We can be creative on our own terms. We’ve done that before with Pakistan’s reinforcement in Melbourne. Dusting off the wickets. Fit for purpose.
“Working with the local gardeners who really help us in and around the country. We feel we can get as close to that as possible without necessarily having a practice game.”
The Aussies last won the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in India under Adam Gilchrist in 2004-05.
In 2017, they came close to winning when they started the tour with a first Test win in Pune, only to lose 1-2 to the side managed by Virat Kohli.
At that time, Australia spent 10 days on bespoke pitches at the ICC academy in Dubai, before spending nine days in India ahead of the Pune game.
The Australia head coach has further hinted that there will be a great team in India with concerns over pace spearhead Mitchell Starc and the fitness of all-rounder Cameron Green.
“Yes, I’m confident he (Green) will be in good shape with the deadlines given to me… The challenge will be to make sure we can be creative in how he trains to make sure that his body is in order.
“But we feel that together with the medical team who did an outstanding job in the last game, we are confident that he will be ready for that first test game.”
The likes of Peter Handscomb, Mitchell Swepson and Todd Murphy can also be included on the tour.
“Matt Renshaw returning to Test cricket has already had success there,” McDonald said.
“Pete Handscomb, no doubt, would probably consider himself unlucky not to be in this conversation for Sydney, but there is another one who is coming back into the fold of testing in the conversation.
“We also have Marcus Harris. So feel we have test experience in this depth. Some will say that the age profile is a little older in these and potentially less young, but we think this experience is beneficial.
“Todd raises his hand with the performances he put on the board. Mitch Sweepson has done well in the subcontinent before.
“Sometimes the second spinner isn’t necessarily the next best spinner if that makes sense. It’s the one that complements what you have,” he added.



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