Despite some criticism of Australia not playing a tour match ahead of their upcoming four-match Test series against India, premier batter Steve Smith thinks it is the right decision to not play a tour match citing the “irrelevant” pitches that didn’t spin in those games when they were in the country on previous occasion.
Australia have adopted a no tour match policy since their tour of Pakistan last year, and is being continued for their all-important Test tour to India, played for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
“We’ll wait and see when we hit the ground. I think we’ve made the right decision to not play a tour match. Like I said, last time they dished up a green top for us and we barely faced any spin, so it’s kind of irrelevant.”
“We’re better off having our own nets and getting spinners in and bowling as much as they can,” Smith was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph before leaving from Sydney airport with the Australian team on Tuesday.
They also practiced pitches at the North Sydney Oval last weekend by replicating pitches which are roughed up and have cracks in India as well as using SG balls. Before they play in the first Test at Nagpur on February 9, Australia also have a five-day training camp in Bengaluru for practice of playing in challenging Indian conditions.
“We normally have two tour games over in England. This time we don’t have a tour game in India. The last time we went I’m pretty sure we got served up a green top (to practise on) and it was sort of irrelevant.”
“Hopefully, we get really good training facilities where the ball is likely to do what it’s likely to do out in the middle, and we can get our practice in,” added Smith.
When Australia last toured India, they lost 2-1 despite winning the first Test in Pune. Australia hasn’t won a Test series in India since 2004 and Smith, who won his fourth Allan Border Medal as the best Australia men’s player in 2022, feels the Pat Cummins-led side is ready for the Indian challenge.
“It’s certainly huge. I don’t know if it’s (winning in India) the final frontier. I’ve never won there, I’ve been there twice (for Tests), it’s always difficult playing there.”
“India and England – our two opponents over the next six months – are probably our biggest as an Australian Test cricketer. We’ve got some challenges in front of us, but the guys are ready for it.”