Australia search for positives from Twenty20
Tim Nielsen, the Australia coach, says his team was surprised by the intensity of the ICC World Twenty20, which left Ricky Ponting, Shane Watson and Michael Hussey suffering hamstring injuries. Despite Australia's fitness problems leading into a limited-overs tour of India, Nielsen said the tournament in South Africa had been beneficial ahead of a busy 18 months.
"It's probably been a really good physical workout for us," Nielsen told AAP. "It's been nice that the bowlers can get through four overs and they don't have to flog themselves early in the year, so hopefully there is a lot of benefit to get out of it."
Nielsen said the seven-match ODI series in India would now seem like "a lazy old day in the sun playing Test cricket" in comparison to the Twenty20 competition. "It's so fast," he said. "We've only played one-off games in the past, so playing in a tournament where every game counts really means the pressure stacks up a bit, and then you factor in all the travelling and training and it's quite an intense few weeks."
Although Ponting is expected to take part in some of the India games, Hussey and Watson have been sent home to recuperate ahead of the opening matches of Australia's domestic season, which starts in just over a fortnight. Australia are already without Shaun Tait, whose recovery from elbow surgery has taken longer than expected. James Hopes, Brad Haddin and Adam Voges have been added to the squad to tour India.
Adam Gilchrist said the players entered the World Twenty20 under-prepared so they would not tire too quickly as their international schedule becomes more hectic. "We knew we were underdone," Gilchrist said in the Australian. "We realised that very quickly."
However, he was pleased with the way Australia's attack handled the pressure in South Africa and he said Mitchell Johnson's form - he claimed eight wickets at 19.12 and went for 6.37 an over - was promising. "I really like the way the ball is coming out for him at the moment," Gilchrist said. "Our bowlers have been pretty spot-on every game."
After the India series, which ends with a Twenty20 match, Australia's players will have two and a half weeks without international cricket before their two-Test home series against Sri Lanka. The calendar eases slightly through December, with three ODIs and a Twenty20 against New Zealand, followed by India's visit that begins with the Boxing Day Test.