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No need for a practice match, says Andrew McDonald on going directly into Tests on India tour

New Delhi : Australia head coach Andrew McDonald believes that there is no need for a practice game before starting their four-match Test series in India for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in February-March.

Australia had done something similar while touring Pakistan last year, practising on pitches in Melbourne, before landing in the country shortly to participate in the series, which they won by 1-0.

It is believed that before touring India and starting the series from February 9 in Nagpur, there will be a three-day camp for the Australian players in Sydney. In 2017, Australia prepared for the India Test with a ten-day stint on specifically prepared pitches at the ICC academy in Dubai.

Before playing in the first Test at Pune, which they won, the visiting Australians played a three-day tour match against India ‘A’ at Brabourne Stadium. But, India, then led by Virat Kohli, bounced back from the loss in Pune to win the series 2-1.

“No tour game is something we’ve done in the last few series, before embarking on overseas tours. 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.” “But we would prefer a centre wicket in India to go through some scenario training, and we feel as though with this experienced group also that have been there before, that they won’t need as long to adapt to the conditions.

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,” McDonald was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald’.

McDonald hinted at having a larger Australian squad in India with concerns over the fitness of left-arm pace spearhead Mitchell Starc, who injured his middle finger and fast-bowling all-rounder Cameron Green, who suffered a fracture of his right index finger, in the MCG Test against South Africa.

“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 has done an outstanding job in the last game, we feel as though we’re confident he’ll be ready for that first Test match,” he added. Further candidates to be on a tour of India are batters Matthew Renshaw and Peter Handscomb, as well as spinners Mitchell Swepson and Todd Murphy.

Renshaw and Handscomb had been on a tour of India in 2017 while Swepson was with the side on tours of Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 2022. “Matt Renshaw coming in again in Test cricket has had some success there before.

Pete Handscomb, no doubt, would probably consider himself unlucky not to be in that conversation for Sydney, but there’s another one 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.

There’s a lot of great stories of people having a taste of Test cricket going out and coming back in and being really successful.” “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,” concluded McDonald.



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