Michael Clarke Baffled As No Tour Games Are Planned Before India vs Australia 1st Test


Michael Clarke was left baffled by a decision by the Australian team management ahead of their Test series vs India. With the Border-Gavaskar Trophy scheduled for February 9, India host Australia in the four-match Test series. The series will be part of Australia’s Tour of India and will be followed by a three-match ODI series.

The Aussies last won a Test match on Indian soil in 2017, with spin having a huge impact on the result as left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe was the match-winner for his team with 12 wickets. Australia legend Michael Clarke feels that his side are not well-prepared for the upcoming Tests and should have opted to play a practice match, which would have helped them prepare for the Indian conditions.

Steve O'Keefe Image Source: IANS
Steve O’Keefe Image Source: IANS

Michael Clarke Doesn’t Understand Why There Are No Tour Game Before The 1st Test In India

Former Australia captain Michael Clarke cannot fathom why Pat Cummins’ side is not playing practice or tour games ahead of the Border-Gavaskar series, beginning in India on February 9.

Australia will be touring India for the four-Test series, with the opening 1st Test game scheduled at Nagpur, and Michael Clarke opined that not playing a tour game could have a “significant” impact on the outcome.

“That’s the part I don’t understand”, he said.

Michael Clarke is the former World Cup-winning Australia captain.
Michael Clarke is the former World Cup-winning Australia captain. | Photo Credit: AFP

“The no tour game before the first Test in India. I hope I’m proven wrong but I think that is going to be significant. Batting in those conditions in one-day cricket and T20 cricket is one thing, batting in Indian conditions in Test cricket it is a completely different game.” 

Former Australia wicketkeeper Ian Healy too had recently expressed surprise at the side not playing a tour game, saying he was a “little bit worried”.  However, Australia head coach Andrew McDonald said the side had played quite a few series of late without a tour game being part of the itinerary.

The left-arm spinner Steve O’ Keefe’s  best bowling figure of 12 for 70 came against India in 2017 during Pune’s Test match.  In his nine Test appearances, he bagged 35 wickets at an average of 29.40. He has played seven T20Is and picked up six wickets.

Michael Clarke: Reverse Swing Is Going To Play A Big Part Unlike Australian Conditions

Former Aussie captain Micheal Clarke has slammed the current squad of the Australian team flying to India for the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy for not playing any tour matches.

India is a place which is also known as the final frontier of world cricket. India is one of the hardest for the visiting teams to play because of its spin-friendly, low, and slow tracks. Severe hot weather and also the massive crowd support that Team India gets as the home team.

“You need a completely different plan to what you have playing in Australia, the way you start your innings against spin bowling, the way you play reverse swing, through the Australian summer we didn’t see any reverse swing, the games were over in two, three days.”

Andrew McDonald Getty Images
Andrew McDonald Getty Images

“So reverse swing is going to play a big part (in India), all these batters that walk out and play bowlers bowling 130-140ks – there’s every chance India is going to play at least two spinners, so it’s a completely different game”, he further added.

Michael Clarke feels that the Indian conditions are extremely difficult to bat on.

“If you get in you need to go on and make a big score because your first 20 runs in India in second innings, whoa, a ball that you go forward to and block in Australia easily against spin, over there can roll along the ground, can bounce and take your glove. You can go to block it outside off and it bowls you leg stump, natural variation over there is massive”, he said.

Michael Clarke said that the Australian team is going to be undone. Michael Clarke’s remark came after he lost his commentary job for the upcoming series. Australia coach Andrew McDonald has defended his decision of not playing tour games before the India tour as it also worked in Pakistan.