Last Updated: January 17, 2023, 08:00 AM IST
Just about three weeks remain before Australia embark on the challenging India tour where they will first lock horns with their famous opponents in a four-Test series. Their successive series victories at home against West Indies and South Africa must have boosted their confidence but India is a different ballgame where spinners play a prominent role in deciding the final outcome.
Australia have made provisions for that by loading their Test squad with four specialist spinners including the seasoned Nathan Lyon who will have Ashton Agar, Mitchell Swepson and greenhorn Todd Murphy for company.
Besides, Australia Test captain Pat Cummins can call-up the part-timers Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head if needed.
However, Adam Gilchrist, the last Aussie captain to taste a Test series win on Indian soil, has advised the team against going overboard and instead asked for being patient.
Gilchrist, who was the stand-in captain for the 2004 tour when Australia 2-1, trusted his frontline attack comprising the pace trio of Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Michael Kasprowicz, and a sole specialist spinner in Shane Warne to engineer the historic triumph.
“What we tried to change with our mentality back then – and I’d be interested to see if the Australians do it this time – is don’t go searching and just rolling spinners out there,” Gilchrist was quoted as saying by Fox Sports.
“Attack the stumps right from ball one. Swallow your pride a bit, be defensive to be aggressive… Start with one slip, start with a catching mid-wicket, put fielders out on the boundary to nullify the boundary option, but keep a couple of catchers in place – either at short cover or short mid-wicket – and just be patient,” he added.
Gilchrist though is quite hopeful Australia can win the Test series this time around. “I think they’ll do it (win the series). I really do. I think they’ve got a squad and final XI that will have a lot of similarities to the team we rolled with in 2004,” he said.
Gilchrist though has a warning.
“So often teams go to India hoping to unveil some new spinner that’s going to come in and adapt and bedazzle in India — it doesn’t really happen. Pick your best four bowlers, run with them — and if that is three seamers who can all get really nice reserve swing and Nathan Lyon, who’s outstanding and clearly the best off-spinner we’ve ever had, can play his role — that’s my gut feeling. You do that, you go with it,” he said.