Former Australia wicketkeeper-batter Ian Healy has admitted to being a little worried over Australia not playing any tour games ahead of their four-match Test series against India starting from February 9 in Nagpur.
In 2017, Australia prepared for the India Test tour 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 by 333 runs, they also played a three-day tour match against the Hardik Pandya-led India ‘A’ at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai.
But, India, then led by Virat Kohli, bounced back from the loss in Pune to win the series 2-1, thanks to victories in Bengaluru and Dharamshala apart from a draw in Ranchi. But ahead of the series in 2023, Australia will enter without playing a tour game, something which they did when touring Pakistan last year.
Healy was speaking in response to opener Usman Khawaja’s comments over no tour matches harming their chances of doing good in the series against India. “That’s an in-form natural batsman talking.”
“I think the spinners would like a ‘bowl-off’ into it and so the non-natural players who need some repetition and to grind before getting back into it. It’s not for everyone practice matches, but it is for some,” he said on SEN radio.
Also, Australia won’t play any tour games in the week-long gap between Tests in New Delhi and Dharamshala, which Healy thinks could come back to bite Pat Cummins and Co as players in the squad need time in the middle.
“How do we get players back into form? There’ll be no games in between the Tests either. Someone who is going to be sitting on the bench for three matches might get dragged in, we’ve got to be careful.”
“I am a little bit worried, not so much for a Usman (Khawaja) and that sort of personality that he’s got with great natural flair. But a Lance Morris, I want to keep him revving, I would be looking to find games for a few of those (players).”
“We want them to play games, see if there’s a club game if there is such a thing in India. I don’t need him (Morris) getting stale or bored without form behind him.”
After the first Test in Nagpur ends on February 13, India and Australia will play Test matches in New Delhi (from February 17-21), Dharamsala (March 1-5) and Ahmedabad (March 9-13).