Tour Game Not Needed Before India Series, Insists Australia Head Coach Andrew McDonald

Australia head coach Andrew McDonald is confident that their “no tour game” policy on overseas tours will serve them well in the four match Test series in India in February-March. Australia are unlikely to play any tour matches ahead of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and would arrive in India just a week before the first Test, beginning in Nagpur on February 9. The stress would be on preserving mental and physical freshness rather than arriving much early to play a warm-up game and acclimatise to the conditions, said McDonald.

Australia are aiming for their first series win in India in 19 years. “No tour game is something we’ve done in the last few series, before embarking on overseas tours,” McDonald was quoted saying in the Sydney Morning Herald.

“We feel as though we don’t need that match practice as such. We’re going to go to India about a week out from the first game. We didn’t want to press for too much longer, in terms of the preparation.

A similar approach was successful when they won a three-match series in Pakistan with a 1-0 margin in March last year.

During then, Australia batters prepared on scarified pitches during a camp in Melbourne and arrived just a week before the first Test in Rawalpindi.

“We feel as though seven days is ample time to get ready and to make sure we maintain freshness throughout the whole four Test match series,” McDonald said.

“We had some success doing that, going to Pakistan. We had a shortened period on the ground 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 gruelling tour.

“We can be creative in our own conditions. We’ve done it before with the Pakistan build-up in Melbourne. Dusting up wickets. Fit for purpose.

“Working with the local groundsmen who really help us in and around the country. We feel as though we can get as close to that as possible without necessarily having a practice game.” The Aussies had last won the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in India under Adam Gilchrist in 2004-05.

In 2017, they had come close to winning when they began the tour with a first Test win in Pune, only to go down against the Virat Kohli-led side 1-2.

At that time, Australia had a gruelling 10-day stint on tailor-made pitches at the ICC academy in Dubai, before spending nine days in India ahead of the Pune game. Australia head coach further hinted at having a large squad in India with concerns over pace spearhead Mitchell Starc and allrounder Cameron Green’s fitness “Yeah, I am confident he (Green) will be fit with the time frames I’ve been given… The challenge will be making sure we can be creative in the way he trains to make sure his body is in order.

“But we feel as though with the medical team that have done an outstanding job in the last game, we feel as though we’re confident he’ll be ready for that first Test match.” The likes of Peter Handscomb, Mitchell Swepson and Todd Murphy may also be included in the tour.

“Matt Renshaw coming in again in Test cricket has had some success there before,” McDonald said.

“Pete Handscomb, no doubt, would probably consider himself unlucky not to be in that conversation for Sydney, but there’s another one that coming back into the Test fold in conversation.

“We’ve got Marcus Harris also. So feel we’ve got Test experience within that depth. Some will say the age profile is a little bit older in those and potentially not as many youngsters in that, but we feel as though that experience is beneficial.

“Todd’s putting his hand up with the performances he’s put on the board. Mitch Swepson performed well in the subcontinent previously.

“Sometimes the second spinner isn’t necessarily the best next spinner if that makes sense. It’s the one that complements what you have,” he added.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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