IND vs AUS 2022-23: 'We got served up a green top; it was sort of irrelevant' - Steven Smith on practice games
IND vs AUS 2022-23: Australia is in India to play four Tests for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. While the tourists prepare for the series without a practice fixture, Steven Smith says playing warm-up contests on green tracks is irrelevant.
Former Australian skipper and current top-order batter Steven Smith sounds that his team is better off workout on its own rather than playing tour matches on "irrelevant" Indian wickets ahead of the four-Test Border-Gavaskar Trophy series. Australia has elected not to play a single tour fixture in India during the month-long Test series, mainly due to the hosts coming up with green tops for the practice games and switching to turning tracks for the actual contests. Smith, who won the country's best men's player award for the fourth time on Monday, stated that nets sessions would profit his side more than the tour matches.
The 18-member unit, led by pacer Pat Cummins, had a pre-series camp on spin-friendly pitches in Sydney and will have a week-long time in Bengaluru before the opening Test in Nagpur on February 9. "We normally have two tour games over in England. This time we don't have a tour game in India," Smith told news.com.au on Monday before the side's departure to India.
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"The last time we went (to India), I'm pretty sure we got served up a green top (to practice on), and it was irrelevant. Hopefully, we get excellent 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," declared Smith, who outlasted Travis Head and David Warner for winning the Allan Border medal.
Australia has been criticised for not having tour contests, which are a crucial part of a long series, in its itinerary. However, Smith noted that rigid nets sessions would better assist the spinners in training. "We're better off having our nets and getting spinners in and bowling as much as they can," he considered.
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Smith, whose team had lost the series 1-2 when it journeyed India in 2017, exhibited that much thinking had been put into the decision. "We'll wait and see when we hit the ground. We've made the right decision not to play a tour match. As I said, last time they dished up a green top for us [in a tour fixture], we barely faced any spin, so it's irrelevant."
Last week, the Australians had a conditioning session in Sydney on pitches with notable cracks to reproduce the Indian circumstances. "It's [Tests in India] certainly huge. I don't know if it's [besting in India] the final frontier. I've never won there. I've been there twice [to play Test cricket], and it's always difficult playing there. We've got some challenges in front of us, but the guys are ready for it," concluded Smith.
(With inputs from PTI)