Patience and fast bowlers the key in India - Katich
Simon Katich, the captain of Australia A, said that the two three-day games against India A will be a great platform to push for national selection for the series against India in October.
"We have four quicks and three spinners and the selectors obviously want to look at a few players there for the touring party later in October. There is no [Shane] Warne, no [Adam] Gilchrist, no [Glen] Mcgrath, no [Justin] Langer, no [Damien] Martyn ... you name it. We took a 15-member squad to West Indies, which was our last tour in June and there is no doubt that the selectors will be looking closely at the performances of guys in this series."
The fast bowling attack will be spearheaded by Doug Bollinger and Ashley Noffke, part of Australia's Test squad in the West Indies, and supported by Queensland's Ryan Harris and Victoria's Peter Siddle. Bryce McGain, Victoria's 36-year-old legspinner, Jason Krejza, the Tasmania offspinner, and Beau Casson, who made his Test debut against West Indies, are the three spinners.
It's not only the Australian selectors but the IPL talent scouts will also be looking at this series closely. "There are some impressive talent like Phillip Hughes. We have not signed up anybody yet as we are waiting for the IPL council to lay down the ground rules for selection for this season but yes we will be following the series closely," said a source, associated with the top management in one of the franchises.
Katich believed the players taking part in the limited-over series with India A are aware of the IPL opening but will be focused on the job on hand. "Definitely the guys in the ODI series will get a chance to showcase their potential. But I don't think they will be viewing it that way. When you are playing for Australia A, you see the opportunity to press for a place in Australia but if obviously they attract the attention of IPL scouts they would be happy."
In the absence of the injured Matthew Hayden, Katich had opened in the Test series in West Indies but highlighted Hughes, the 19-year old opener from New South Wales who is in the Australia A squad, as some one to watch out for in the future. "I was surprise opener in the West Indies. I had not done it a lot and it was a nice to get an opportunity. Young Phillip Hughes will get an opportunity here to open the batting. We have had lots of young players here who had a good domestic season last year. We are lucky that our domestic cricket provides good competition and players that have been picked all warrant to be here."
Speaking about his own chances to tour India in October, Katich said, "If Matthew Hayden is fit and back, he will be obviously back into the team. Hopefully a good performance here will help me to be picked for the Test tour as the extra batsman. In the Test team, at the moment, there could be a opportunity in the middle order as well depending some one gets injured or some one getting sick. You just have to wait and see what happens."
Katich identified patience and the importance of the fast bowlers as the two important lessons Australia took from their previous Indian tours. "You have to be very patient here. Things can take a while to happen here, be it in batting or bowling. Last time when we were here, we were very disciplined in not only our preparation but also how we played. We probably backed off a little bit; we weren't probably as attacking as we had been in the past and that certainly helped our cause. The other thing we learnt was that the quick bowlers played a huge role in winning the Test series. Obviously Shane Warne bowled beautifully but our three quicks helped in setting up that win."
When the two teams met in Australia early this year, they were involved in a series marred by poor spirit and controversies. Katich, however, was confident playing in the IPL had helped many players to sort out their differences. "Hopefully after IPL the relations between the two sides will be much better. Guys have played with each other."
Katich played with Sreesanth for the Mohali franchise that made to the semi-finals. "We were mates. We got along well and there would be no dramas between us."
The Australia A team, coached by Simon Helmot, who heads Victoria's High Performance Academy, play the first of the two three-day games on September 3 in Bangalore.
Australia A squad Simon Katich (capt), Phillip Hughes, Adam Voges, Marcus North, George Bailey, Peter Forrest, Luke Ronchi (wk), Ashley Noffke, Beau Casson, Ryan Harris, Jason Krejza, Peter Siddle, Bryce McGain, Doug Bollinger.