Cricket News 2023 Australia vs India Test Series Spinners North Sydney Wicket Training
Australia have taken a left-field approach to prepare for a test tour of India, as the team aims to crack a 19-year-old hoodoo on the subcontinent.
Australia’s men’s Test team haven’t won a series in India since 2004 but have a chance to redeem themselves with four matches in February and March.
Typically, the team would travel abroad up to a fortnight before the first match in order to acclimatize and get at least one practice match to adjust to the conditions.
READ MORE: Djokovic soaks up ‘the biggest win of my life’
READ MORE: ‘It hurts me’: Djokovic’s blunt plea to his father
READ MORE: The adversary’s beautiful nod to the “greatest of all time”
But Australia opted not to fly to India too far in advance and instead converged on North Sydney at the weekend for something a little different.
Men’s coach Andrew McDonald has asked North Sydney curator Kieran Meurant to prepare a central wicket that could replicate a pitch in India.
The Australians were burned last year on a trip to Sri Lanka, where they were forced to train on seam-friendly wickets, only to encounter the opposite on match day.
“Often (there is) no real connection between that practice match and the first test match. We feel like we can control the surfaces here,” McDonald told the media on Sunday.
“Assurances have been given (at the training grounds in India). We will get there and most of the ground staff in the world are good enough to get us what we want. We will wait and see.”
Indian curators usually prepare wickets suitable for bowlers.
Since Australian conditions naturally produce very different pitches, Meurant and his team deliberately drained and scuffed the pitch at Bon Andrews Oval – adjacent to North Sydney Oval – to give it an Indian touch.
Australian bowlers Nathan Lyon, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Swepson and uncapped Todd Murphy then spent the weekend honing their skills on deck.
Aussie legends review summer of cricket: Outside the Rope
“Kieran has done a fantastic job here with the field staff to produce exactly what we want,” McDonald said.
“We feel like there the surfaces we have are very similar to what we’re going to face in India, which is very difficult to replicate, but we feel like we’ve come close to that, so the ground staff did a fantastic job.
“We’ve been through a lot of those scenarios.”
McDonald also wanted the four bowlers to train physically and practice their skills, given that most of the players have been in Twenty20 competitions and they will need to play a lot more in India.
For a daily dose of the best news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by click here
Australian Open 2023 in pictures: Hilarious detail in Novak Djokovic’s jacket proves ruthless mentality