SYDNEY: Cricket Australia will import soil from India to build sub-continental style pitches to help their batsmen prepare for playing against spin, a report said yesterday.
The outdoor pitches will be laid near the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane to create low-bouncing tracks that will allow batsmen and bowlers to prepare at home for tours of India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
The top-ranked Australians have traditionally struggled against spin on the sub-continent, and team performance manager Pat Howard said CA wanted the pitches in place by the end of the Australian summer using Indian soil.
“A third of all our matches are on the sub-continent, so you’ve got to be able to deal with it,” he told Fairfax Media, adding the imported soil idea had been long under discussion.
“Whilst we do practise here against spin, we know it’s not as real as being there. We’re never going to make it exactly the same but we’re going to try to get as close as we can,” Howard said.
“Some players in our system are fantastic at using their feet and playing against spin, but our collective experience has got to get better.”
Australia’s next Test assignment is against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in October, when they will come up against off-spinner Saeed Ajmal trying to expose old frailties.
Australia’s batsmen were all at sea on last year’s Test tour of India where they lost the series 4-0.
Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly at the time labelled Michael Clarke’s team as the worst-ever Australian side to tour India.
“We didn’t play well in India,” Clarke conceded this week.
“I don’t know, but I am guessing the wickets in Dubai will be similar. I am guessing they will prepare wickets that spin and they will have two or three spinners in those teams.
“We have to find a way to get better. That is one of our great challenges as a Test team.”
When Australian chief selector Rod Marsh was head of the International Cricket Council’s academy in Dubai, they recreated conditions from all over the world on a series of pitches so students would be ready for international cricket.
Most of Australia’s contracted players are at the Brisbane centre for the next fortnight for a fitness camp. Clarke will lead the side to the UAE for the matches against Pakistan, hoping to protect the team’s number one Test and one-day ranking. AFP