India's Test specialists to leave early for Australia
The Test specialists of the Indian squad will leave early for Australia, even as the ODI team completes its home assignment against West Indies. A board official told ESPNcricinfo that Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Ishant Sharma and Pragyan Ojha are likely to be on an early flight, the exact date for which is yet to be decided. They will leave either on December 8 or after the BCCI awards function on December 10. India's first tour game begins on December 15, eleven days prior to the Boxing Day Test.
Laxman, one of India's Tests-only players, welcomed the development. "Luckily for us we are going ahead this time, so we will get a lot of time and opportunity to get acclimatised to those conditions," Laxman told ESPNcricinfo. "I firmly believe that how much ever simulation you do in India, it's always important to get to Australia and get used to the conditions. The net practices and training sessions will be very critical for us to get used to the conditions as early as possible.
"Personally, because of past experiences, you know if you do certain kind of drills it will help you to get used to the bounce. But it is not the same as actually batting there." Laxman, though, didn't know when exactly he will be flying and who he will be flying with.
Unlike India's last tour of Australia, when the team left immediately after completing a Test series against Pakistan, this schedule allows the Tests specialists more flexibility in their preparations. The last time, the BCCI attracted flak for arranging only one warm-up game; this time, India will be playing two warm-up games before they face Australia in the first Test in Melbourne.
Last year as well, the Test specialists left early for the tour of South Africa, while the ODI side played against New Zealand at home.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo