Legendary Australian wicket-keeper Ian Healy has taken a potshot at India, saying the idea behind Pat Cummins’ side not playing a tour game in the subcontinent ahead of the Test series is because “we no longer trust” the facilities provided by the host nation.
Australia will not play a single tour game ahead of the four-Test Border-Gavaskar series and a member of the squad, Usman Khawaja, had said recently that there was no point playing practice games as the wickets prepared for tour fixtures and actual matches in India were very different.
“Have you ever been pre-tour with us (Australia)? They can be spinning wickets when we play but we go to the practice matches and they are green Gabba-like wickets out there (in India), so what’s the point,” Khawaja had said during a press conference earlier this month.
Healy backed Khawaja’s suggestion, saying it was a good idea to assemble the touring party spinners in Sydney ahead of the tour to acclimatise them to replica India pitches.
“We’ve gathered our spinners in Sydney for strategic talks (on replica India surfaces)… we no longer trust that the requested facilities will be provided for a nation,” Healy said on SEN Radio on Monday.
“We’ve been part of this shenanigan too by the way… when we’re over (in England) we spend our time whinging about weakened County teams that England put up as our opposition before the series.” Healy said he doesn’t like the trend of home boards preparing different sets of wickets for tour games and actual matches, adding that it amounts to a breach of “trust”.
“Our focus in cricket has shifted from creating opportunities and experiences for our best up and coming cricketers… now we deny touring teams quality preparation before very highly anticipated series and I don’t like it.
“It’s disappointing to watch such dismantling of trust between cricket’s nations and it needs to stop,” added Healy.
Australia begin their Test series against India at Nagpur on February 9 and Khawaja had said recently that it was a “good idea” not to play tour games, indicating they serve little purpose.
“I think we have finally learned. When I heard we weren’t going to have a practice game I went up to (head coach) Andrew McDonald and said, ‘Good idea’,” Khawaja had said recently.
Australia haven’t won a Test series in India since 2004/05 and are keen to turn around their fortunes in the subcontinent during the upcoming tour.
“Touring teams seem to all struggle these days and here we go again, we’re going to India without a whole lot of Indian practice under our belts, let alone England later in the year where we haven’t won since 2001,” Healy added.
Healy, however, said that a tour match midway through the Test series would be a good idea to give the touring party’s seven reserves some match practice.
“In India they’re (Australia) hoping everything will click and the squad freshens up with net practice… our coaching staff are content with this and I’ll trust them for now. I would, however, like to see a tour match between the second and third Test in India… I’d love to see a three-day game so that our seven reserves (in the 18-man squad) we’ve got over there can have a good hit out,” Healy added.
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