CHENNAI: The Indian team’s wish to play two practice matches in Australia before the Border-Gavaskar Trophy begins in the first week of December is likely to be granted by Cricket Australia (CA).
As of now, there is only one three-day practice match that India are scheduled to play after the three-match T20I series, which precedes the Test matches that start on December 6. But with India’s team management making a formal request to CoA to add another fixture, BCCI is understood to have negotiated with CA.
Express understands that CA are now tweaking the schedule to accommodate another match. This match may take place soon after the third T20I on November 25, or begin on the same day featuring only Test regulars.
When BCCI put forth its request, there seem to have been concerns within CA that in case the practice fixture runs parallel to the T20I series, India might not play a full-strength side to keep them fresh for the four Tests. That unease seems to have stemmed primarily from the fact that CA has a new broadcaster coming on board, after the end of its four-decade association with Channel Nine.With Steve Smith and David Warner already missing from Australia’s ranks, an Indian team sans its biggest stars playing those T20Is would be the last thing that new host broadcaster Fox Sports would hope for, as it has moved from free-to-air to pay TV.
“Talks have been positive. There should be an official announcement soon. After the team made a request for another practice match, we had to find a way to slot it in. CA has been extremely helpful in understanding the situation,” a board official told Express.India have not played two warm-up matches in recent times. In the past, captain Virat Kohli had revealed his liking for creating match-like situations during practice instead. His logic was that host boards don’t generally field their best resources, as that benefits the touring side.
As a result, India had cancelled their lone practice match in South Africa, and converted a three-day match against Essex before their Test series in England into a two-day fixture.But these two tours showed that India batsmen take time to acclimatise, considering that they won only after losing their first two matches on both trips.
With results not going their way, Kohli & Co believe there is a strong possibility of them being the first Indian side to win a Test series Down Under, given the current state of the Australian side. In fact, India are already looking to fielding a full-strength squad even in the T20 series with an eye on winning all three formats.
No spin bowling coach
India are not going to appoint any spin bowling coach for the team. There were reports that head coach Ravi Shastri had made such a request to help the likes of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. But highly-placed sources have denied these claims.