Former Aussie Test cricket captain Michael Clarke has lashed the current squad for abandoning tour matches in India, saying they will be going in underdone – with his remarks coming just after he lost a commentary job in the subcontinent.
India is known as the final frontier in world cricket, the hardest place for visiting teams because of the spin-friendly, low and slow pitches, searing heat and massive crowd support for the home team.
While Clarke has been dumped for the commentary team in India by the host broadcaster, he has used his Australian radio show to warn the Aussies about not scheduling tour matches
Clarke was scheduled to fly to India for the upcoming Test series against Australia before the Board of Control for Cricket in India sacked him from its commentary panel over his wild antics in Noosa.
A shirtless Clarke was filmed in a heated altercation with his girlfriend Jade Yarbrough and threatening to punch on with media personality and friend Karl Stefanovic.
While the former skipper won’t be on the plane to India, he has slammed the Australian team on his radio spot The Big Breakfast for not scheduling any tour matches in the lead-up to the four Test series.
‘That’s the part I don’t understand,’ Clarke said.
‘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.
Clarke (left) in his playing days touring India with Mitchell Johnson, Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden and the late Phil Hughes
‘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 130-140ks – there’s every chance India is going to play at least two spinners, so it’s a completely different game.’
Australian skipper Pat Cummins and coach Andrew McDonald talk tactics. A decision has been made to play no tour matches ahead of the four Test series against India
Aussie coach Andrew McDonald has defended the decision to scrap tour matches after it worked on recent tours, including the 2022 series in Pakistan that Australia won 1-0.
‘No tour game is something we’ve done in the last few series, before embarking on overseas tours,’ he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘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.
‘We had some success doing that, going to Pakistan. We had a shortened period on the ground there.
‘We can be creative in our own conditions. We’ve done it before with the Pakistan build-up in Melbourne. Dusting up wickets. Fit for purpose. 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.’
Virat Kohli and the Indian side will be a stern test for the Aussies who need to win at least one match to retain top spot in the Test Championship
However Clarke said the Aussies would face a stern challenge against an Indian side that had grown up playing in the unique conditions.
‘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,’ Clarke said.
‘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 needs at least one Test win in India to remain in top spot in the Test Championship.