India and Australia are all set to face each other in the upcoming four-Test Border-Gavaskar series, starting from February 9 in Nagpur. The visitors did not opt to play the tour games ahead of the series, citing the difference in the pitches. Earlier, batter Usman Khawaja backed Australia’s decision, stating that it was a “good idea” not to play tour games, indicating they serve little purpose. Now, former skipper Steve Smith also came up with an explanation for skipping the warm-up games, calling it “sort of irrelevant.”
“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. We’re better off having our own nets and getting spinners in and bowling as much as they can. We’ll wait and see when we hit the ground. I think we’ve made the right decision to not play a tour match,” Daily Telegraph quoted Steve Smith as saying.
Apart from Khawaja and Smith, Coach Andrew McDonald stated, “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,” he told Sydney Morning Herald.
“We’ve done it before with the Pakistan build-up in Melbourne. Dusting up wickets. 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,” he added.
Australia has not won in India since 2004-05 and the side will be looking forward to what is dubbed as the ‘Final Frontier’.
Next month marks the beginning of a four-match Test series in India, and spin is anticipated to play a significant role in determining which team will prevail and take home the prized Border-Gavaskar trophy and significant ICC World Test Championship points.