Australian cricketers to play in Chennai

17 Australian cricketers, some of them top international stars, will train and play at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai in July. This is part of MRF's Memorandum of Understanding with Cricket Australia on exchange of cricketers.

Jackson Bird, one of the cricketers who will visit the MRF Pace Foundation in July.   -  Getty Images

International cricketers Joe Burns, Peter Nevill, Jackson Bird and Steve O’ Keefe will be among the 17 Australians who will train and play at the MRF Pace Foundation from July 4 to 12. Nevill dons the wicket-keeping gloves for Australia while Joe Burns is an aggressive top-order batsman. Both feature in the Australian Test team.

Lanky paceman Bird and left-arm spinner O’ Keefe have also represented Australia in Tests. The team will be guided by Troy Cooley who has held coaching positions with England and the Australian Test teams. He is presently working in Cricket Australia’s Centre of Excellence in Brisbane.

M. Senthilnathan, Chief Coach, MRF Pace Foundation, said to Sportstar on Sunday, “The Australian team will be in the city during Glenn McGrath’s camp here next month.”

MRF has an MoU with Cricket Australia on exchange of cricketers.

Senthilnathan said, “The Australian cricketers are here for a variety of reasons. The pacemen in the team will receive a chance to train under McGrath. The batsmen will get a feel of the sub-continental conditions. The spinners will get an opportunity to bowl in the pitches here, against Indian batsmen. And the Aussies will get valuable match practice.”

He added, “After their stint here, the Aussies will fly to Sri Lanka for a two-week camp ahead of Australia’s series against Sri Lanka.”

Australians have always sought to practise in India for honing their skills in the sub-continental conditions. Left-handed great Matthew Hayden training in Chennai and then becoming a ‘sweeping’ success during Australia’s tour of India in 2001 is among the prominent examples.