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Australia want their own Indian soil

Brydon Coverdale

June 4, 2014

Comments: 47 | Text size: A | A

Michael Clarke with the ICC's Test mace, Brisbane, June 4, 2014
Michael Clarke with the ICC's Test Championship mace in Brisbane © Getty Images
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Cricket Australia has come up with a novel plan to improve the team's performance on Indian soil: import some of their own. Their 4-0 thrashing in India last year continued a recent trend of failures in sub-continental conditions and since they last toured Bangladesh in 2006, Australia have played 13 Tests in Asia for only one win, when they defeated Sri Lanka in Galle in 2011.

Their home clean-sweep in the Ashes helped propel Michael Clarke's men back up to No.1 in the Test rankings but staying there will require finding ways to win away from home. To that end, Cricket Australia intends to import soil from India and install Asian-style practice pitches at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane, perhaps in the middle of a greyhound track nearby.

Australia's next Test series is in the UAE against Pakistan later this year and against an attack likely to include challenging spinners such as Saeed Ajmal, the batsmen will hardly have an easy time of it. Their struggles in turning conditions in Bangladesh for the World T20 earlier this year only highlighted the issue of handling quality spin.

"Our toughest challenge the last few years has been having success away from home," Clarke told reporters in Brisbane, where the Australians are at a training camp ahead of their tours of Zimbabwe and the UAE later this year. "We didn't play well in India. 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."

The Indian-style pitches in Brisbane will not be installed in time to prepare Clarke's men for their series against Pakistan, but Cricket Australia's general manager of team performance Pat Howard hoped they would be ready by the end of the coming summer. An indoor spinning surface is already part of the setup at the National Cricket Centre, but such outdoor pitches would provide a unique opportunity for batsmen ahead of subcontinental tours.

"A third of all our matches are in the subcontinent, so you've got to be able to deal with it," Howard said. "While 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.

"The subcontinent [pitch] idea has been around for a long time and we're very much trying to make this a place where in the middle of winter guys can get themselves ready and prepared. Some players in our system are fantastic at using their feet and playing against spin, but our collective experience has got to get better."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

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Posted by flickspin on (June 6, 2014, 8:04 GMT)

another idea i have

is to create a top end league consisting of cairns, darwin, alice springs and broome

to be played in the dry season in the australian winter( march to september)

for players who can not get i.p.l or english domectic cricket contracts, it also has players in constant form all year round( say that australia tours england and a batsmen gets injured, australia can fly over some one who has been playing cricket and is in form)

australian can also host 4 match test series in the australian winter

i would make admission free, with coaching clinics for the aboriginal communities

it would cost over $1 million to run but i bet they could find sponsors

the comp would consist of 4 day first class games and 20/20 games home and away

20/20 games could be shown on tv, to help pay the cost

cairns would be green with bounce

darwin would be green with bounce

alice springs would be dry and dusty similar to the sub continent

broome would hard and dry with a strong breeze

Posted by flickspin on (June 6, 2014, 7:42 GMT)

bringing indian soil to australia to help australian batsmen and bowlers is a great idea

australia has the best pitch diversity in the world

hobart, its green and seams and swings, a bit like new zealand and england

sydney, great for batting until days 4 & 5 where it a spinners pitch

melbourne, is a drop in pitch which slows every day and days 4 & 5 batsmen get caught in front of the wicket at cover or mid wicket, melbourne has some of the biggest boundries in the world

adelaide, is a batsmen wicket untill day 4 & 5 where it spins, has short boundries square of the wicket

brisbane, is green and bouncy

perth is dry with bounce, apparently great for batting once your in, has the fremantle doctor which helps swing

cricket australia is not short of money, they should buy 30-40 acres some where with heaps of space to create sub continent style pitches and everything that youngsters need to succeed right around world

its better than creating a pitch on a greyhound track

Posted by Cricket_theBestGame on (June 6, 2014, 0:07 GMT)

wouldn't it better to encourage more spinners in aust domestic cricket and make spinner friendly pitches in shield competition so it can get as close to the match condition?? what use its going to be have the indian soil when the weather condition isn't the same?

maybe you can import some of indian spinners along with soil so they can give aus players hard time..otherwise this idea is flawed from the very beginning and waste of money!!

Posted by JJJake on (June 5, 2014, 22:07 GMT)

Novel idea. Howard thinking outside the box.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (June 5, 2014, 21:53 GMT)

@Masudkhan, Australia has many climates, Darwin and Cairns would give us Indian conditions, as would Broome and Alice Springs.

Posted by   on (June 5, 2014, 15:01 GMT)

Aussies have the SCG as a spin venue.If only they stop converting every pitch to a drop-in to accommodate Rugby and Soccer.As regards to India having fast pitches,Mohali and Bangalore do assist seamers early on and we do have the swing paradise of Dharmashala.If BCCI wishes they can re-create Gabba at Wankhade,Eden and MAC.Mumbai,Kolkata and Chennai have a similar climate to Brisbane.Hot and Humid with Coastal Breeze.

Posted by Masudkhan on (June 5, 2014, 12:43 GMT)

CA may import the Indian soil to recreate the pitches but what about the Sub Continent conditions? Can they recreate it? The playing conditions also play a very import role. So this strategy may not be of much use i guess.

Posted by ramz30380 on (June 5, 2014, 11:38 GMT)

@sarangsrk wrong mate! Aussies were bundled out every time in those 4 test matches to the spin of Ashwin and Jadeja. They cudnt score over 300 in any of the innings. Yes I agree Ind have always been a batting strong side, this isnt new but the reason tht the Aussies lost was because of their hapless batting in spinning conditions. The same was obvious in the T20 WC in BD.

It is a good step tht CA has taken but without the likes of quality spinners in their ranks, their batsmen wont be able to enhance their skill on tacking spin bowling in subcontinent conditions.

I suggest tht the BCCI, follow suit and get fast and bouncy tracks from Australia and develop some grounds in India for Indian batsmen to practice and learn. They shud camp at such grounds and practice.

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (June 5, 2014, 11:03 GMT)

how its possible? The pitch will not be as dry as in India due to the weather conditions. There will be cracks everyday due to heat in India. And how its possible in Australia?

Posted by ygkd on (June 5, 2014, 10:17 GMT)

Australian young guns are brought up on hard-wickets and, then, Australian turf pitches and against (usually young) Australian spinners. By the time they get to bat on this pitch they will settled into a style which is based on that. This pitch introduction is a step in the right direction, but it is only one very small step. The number of time one sees stiff-armed batting from young guns (wrists are not in vogue) doesn't really auger well for the success of this venture. The stiff-armed style only works where there's bounce. On low tracks you must use your wrists. This is a Catch 22 pitch. It's 22 yards of soil which would prove that some youngsters have what it takes for sub-continental batting, only they won't get that chance until they prove it elsewhere, which is hard because elsewhere rewards the more stiff-armed styles. Nothing much will change unless the batting attributes that suit this pitch are sought along the way. We need all youth state squads exposed to these conditions.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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