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Mickey Arthur


Arthur: A passage to India

12 February 2013

The Twenty20 squad is in good spirits here in Brisbane. Many have been part of our excellent 5-0 ODI series win against the West Indies and we’re all very focused on bringing our Australian international summer to a successful conclusion by winning the T20 International against the calypso-kings at the Gabba on Wednesday.

I’ll be doing everything in my power to support George Bailey and his squad as they prepare to take on the flamboyant Twenty20 World Champions.

Then comes India. It’s an incredible part of the world and there’s an art to having Test match success there.

Any visiting team has to be able to absorb pressure and, equally, you have to be able to apply pressure over very long periods.

India is a team that is tough to wear down in sub-continental conditions but they’re possible to crack if you’re prepared work really hard and sweat a bit.

I was last there for a Test series as South Africa’s coach in 2008. The series finished 1-1.

There was a draw in in Chennai, South Africa won in Ahmedabad and then the hosts played four spinners in the final test in Kanpur to propel India to victory and tie the series up.

What I learned on that tour was that quick bowlers can do serious damage in Indian conditions.

The ability to produce pace through the air and to swing the ball conventially is crucial. But reverse swing is a lethal weapon in India.

I’m a great believer in playing to your strengths and we believe we have the fast bowling battery to exploit these conditions and place plenty of doubt in the minds of the opposition.

First sessions in India are massive and set the tone. If you don’t hold your chances in the field in India you’ll come unstuck.

Early in the game, chances are few and far between so your fielding must be spot on from the word go.

Make no doubt, it’s hard to get your wickets and you’ve got to roll your sleeves up to get the job done.

Conditions mean the flow of a Test match is usually completely the opposite from one played in Australia.

In Australia, Tests tend to start quick and then settle down. In India, the early stages can be a real arm-wrestle.

You can be fooled into thinking the Test is meandering towards a draw and then suddenly – usually on day four or five – the game speeds up from nowhere and has a sting in the tail for teams that are dozing.

I’m pleased with the way we’ve developed our preparation plan for this tour. Various waves of players have gone early to India to prepare for what’s coming next.

That’s going to be a crucial part of any success we can engineer in the next two months.

Some of our younger players will have the time to get their heads around the technical aspects of their games they’ll need to focus on - and also have the opportunity to become physically and culturally acclimatised before the first ball of the first Test is bowled on February 22 in Chennai.

Our ODI team has been on a bit of a roll over the last few weeks. I’m delighted that we’ve nailed the ODI series 5-0.

These matches have gone a long way to helping the National Selection Panel settle on the kind of group we believe we want for the Champions Trophy in England in a few months’ time.

We’ve seen five tons with three maiden centuries in nine completed ODI’s since early January.

Against the West indies, we’ve shown that we can take 50 wickets in five ODI’s and that our bowlers can play a leading role in setting up a big series win.

I look forward to writing to you next from India,

Mickey

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
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