Steve Smith explains bold ploy for India after criticism from Michael Clarke

Lessons learned from the last tour of India have been crucial for Australia's preparation, Steve Smith says.

Steve Smith is pictured on the left, and a shot of Australian cricket teammates Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne and Nathan Lyon is seen right.
Australian batsman Steve Smith says the team has made a good choice to forgo tour matches in India ahead of their upcoming Test series. Pictures: Getty Images

Australia have opted to forego any tour matches in India prior to their upcoming Test series in the subcontinent in February, believing extra time on Indian pitches will provide them with a negligible advantage. Basing their judgement on the kind of pitches prepared for their last tour of India in 2017, former captain Steve Smith said the tour matches had been largely 'irrelevant' due to their incredibly green tops.

Fresh from a successful Test summer at home, the Australian team has preferred to try and replicate Indian pitches at home. Also switching to the Indian SG balls in preparations, the squad trained on a specially made pitch which had been scarified and significantly cracked and scuffed in an attempt to recreate conditions the team will likely encounter in India.

'WHAT A JOKE': David Warner in awards controversy as Adam Zampa snubbed

AWKWARD: Pat Cummins roasted over embarrassing awards gaffe

The Aussies have not won a Test series in India since the summer of 2004/05, which netted a 2-1 victory for the tourists. India have won the last three Border-Gavaskar trophies, having retained the trophy when the series was last contested on Australian soil in 2020.

The team departed for India on Tuesday. Smith told reporters at the airport that the team had decided it would be better to prepare on their own terms, rather than be subject to the whims of pitch curators in India.

“We normally have two tour games over in England. This time we don’t have a tour game in India,” Smith said. “The last time we went I‘m pretty sure we got served up a green-top (to practice 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. 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.”

Steve Smith, pictured here after winning the Allan Border Medal for a fourth time at the Australian Cricket Awards.
Steve Smith won the Allan Border Medal for a fourth time at the Australian Cricket Awards. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images) (Brendon Thorne via Getty Images)

Michael Clarke slams 'ridiculous' decision

Former Aussie captain Michael Clarke had previously slammed the decision to forego a practice match as 'ridiculous'. He said on Sky Sports radio: “The no tour game before the first Test in India. I hope I’m proven wrong but I think that is going to be significant.

"Batting in those conditions in one-day cricket and T20 cricket is one thing, batting in Indian conditions in Test cricket it is a completely different game. You need a completely different plan to what you have playing in Australia, the way you start your innings against spin bowling, the way you play reverse swing, through the Australian summer we didn’t see any reverse swing, the games were over in two, three days.

“So reverse swing is going to play a big part (in India), all these batters that walk out and play bowlers bowling 130-140 km/h – there’s every chance India is going to play at least two spinners, so it’s a completely different game.

Michael Clarke, pictured here before a game at the T20 World Cup.
Michael Clarke watches on before a game at the T20 World Cup. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images) (Mark Kolbe via Getty Images)

“You need to bat in the best possible conditions (in India) because after that, if you haven’t grown up playing in those conditions, man it’s extremely difficult to start your innings.

“And if you get in you need to go on and make a big score because your first 20 runs in India in second innings, whoa, a ball that you go forward to and block in Australia easily against spin, over there can roll along the ground, can bounce and take your glove. You can go to block it outside off and it bowls you leg stump, natural variation over there is massive.”

Australia coach Andrew McDonald explained: “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. 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."

With AAP

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.