Steve Smith said that playing warm-up matches on Indian pitches is irrelevant

Former Australia captain Steve Smith says his team is better off practicing alone rather than playing warm-up matches on “irrelevant” Indian pitches ahead of the four-Test Border-Gavaskar series. Australia has decided not to play a single warm-up match in India during the month-long Test series. The main reason for this is that the host nation would provide grass wickets for practice while spin-friendly pitches would be prepared for the actual matches.

Smith, who won the country’s best men’s player award for the fourth time in his career on Monday, said his team would benefit more from a net session than a practice match. The 18-member squad, led by Pat Cummins, held a camp on spin-friendly pitches in Sydney ahead of the series and will have a week’s practice in Bengaluru ahead of the first Test starting on February 9 in Nagpur. “We usually play two warm-up games in England,” Smith was quoted as saying by on Monday before the team left for India. This time there is no practice match in India.

“The last time we were there (in India) I am pretty sure we got a grass wicket (to practice on) and it was irrelevant. Hopefully we get really good training facilities where the ball is expected to do what it is expected to do on the pitch. Smith won the Allan Border Medal ahead of Travis Head and David Warner. Australia has been criticized for not including a warm-up match on the tour of India as it is an integral part of a longer series.

Smith, however, said that a tougher net session would help the spinners practice better. He said, “It is better that we practice in our nets and the spinners get a chance to bowl as much as they want.” He indicated that the decision was taken after a lot of thought.

He said, “We will wait and see when we get on the field. I think we have taken the right decision not to play the warm-up matches. Like I said, last time they prepared a grass pitch for us (for the practice match) and we hardly faced the spinners so it is irrelevant. The Australian team held training sessions on those pitches in Sydney last week Where there were cracks like Indian pitches. Smith said, “It (Test series in India) is definitely a very big series. I don’t know whether this (victory in India) is the final frontier. I’ve never won there, I’ve been there twice (for Tests), it’s always difficult to play there. There are some challenges ahead of us but the players are ready for it.

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