Australia to practice in Dubai for India tour: reports

Australia will practice at Dubai's International Cricket Council Academy for the four-Test series against India, according to reports.

Australia was whitewashed 4-0 in India, in 2013.   -  K. Pichumani

Australia plans to prepare for its Indian Test series in Dubai as team officials seek more control over the state of practice pitches, reports said on Monday. The tour to face the World’s No. 1 side next month has been tagged the “closest thing to mission impossible” for Australia, which has not won a Test in India since 2004.

The staging camp at Dubai’s state-of-the-art International Cricket Council (ICC) Academy has been devised to help avoid a repeat of Australia’s disastrous 2013 series in India where it lost all four Tests. “India is not going to be the same everywhere,” Cricket Australia’s high performance general manager Pat Howard told Fairfax Media. “What they can do in Dubai is do a lot of different preparation with different types of pitches.”

The Dubai academy - in which recently departed Australia national selector Rod Marsh took a lead design and development role - has two full-sized floodlit ovals and more than 30 grass pitches constructed on different soils from around the cricket world. “The ICC have done a really good job where they’ll have different pitches of the cities... so it’s not just spin pitches, there are different types,” said Howard.

'All about the mindset'

“We cannot copy what we are going to get. It’s all about the mindset that we’re going to adapt. We can’t get practice against (Ravichandran) Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja either.”

Australia’s team for Tuesday’s final Test in Sydney against Pakistan has been chosen with an eye on the four-Test India campaign and includes two spinners in Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe. Third spinner Ashton Agar was also in the 13-man squad but did not make the starting eleven.

England enjoyed similar preparations in the Gulf state ahead of its landmark 2-1 series win in India in 2012, while West Indies also spent time at the academy before > winning the World Twenty20 championship in India last year.

Australia will play two intra-squad matches in Dubai, with the numbers made up by young players from the Pakistan Super League T20 competition being held there at the same time, the reports said. The first Test begins in Pune on February 23.