Wade to captain Australians in tour-opener
Matthew Wade, who will captain the Australians in their tour-opener, against the Board President's XI at the Guru Nanak College Ground in Chennai starting Tuesday, believes fast bowlers can be as successful as spinners in India, especially fast bowlers as pedigreed - if not experienced - as Australia's.
"I saw a bit of the England series and in the last Test especially, the England quicks took a lot of wickets," Wade said. "We've got a great fast-bowling attack. We've got [Peter] Siddle, [James] Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson, along with a couple of spinners. I'm not sure which way we'll go but I'm sure the quicks will do a good job. Reverse swing is a big thing in India as well."
Wade said the bowlers will have to be at their best to get the better of India. "The guys in the Indian team, they're very, very good batters," Wade said. "They're very experienced, especially in these conditions. We know how hard it is to win in India. So, we've got to work hard in the next 10-15 days to be ready to go in the first Test match."
Wade, whose captaincy experience is limited to youth sides, won't have many selection issues on hand as only 11 of the 17-man squad have arrived in India. The others will be in in time for the three-day game against India A, which begins on February 16 at the same venue. Wade hoped this two-day game will provide them quality time in the middle.
"To bat a long time would be great for our batters," Wade said. "It would be great if the top five or six can get in and have a good, long innings in these conditions and get used to the wicket and the heat. Also, Peter Siddle and James Pattinson haven't bowled a lot in the last few months, and if they can get a few overs under their belt in a match scenario, it would be good for us. And, definitely, play some spin."
Ed Cowan and Usman Khawaja are the only specialist Test batsmen who are already in India. Moises Henriques, Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell are the others who can bat. This will give Wade a chance to bat higher in the order. He has previously batted at No. 6 to allow an extra bowler in the side, and won't mind doing it again should he be called upon.
"I am happy to bat six if that's what Michael and the selectors want me to do," Wade said. "Happy to bat anywhere in the Australian team. If it suits batting six, will be great."
Australians Matthew Wade (capt. & wk), Ed Cowan, Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques, Steve Smith, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird, Ashton Agar
Board President's XI (from) Abhinav Mukund (capt.), Parthiv Patel (wk), Sarabjit Ladda, Parvinder Awana, Stuart Binny, Kedar Jadhav, Kamlesh Makvana, Mandeep Singh, Parvez Rassol, Ambati Rayudu, Shami Ahmed, Robin Uthappa