With the last of the 11 one-day international matches of the summer done and dusted, two separate Australia teams will assemble in three different countries in the coming weeks to gear up for extremely contrasting challenges.
As Australia surrendered the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy to New Zealand with a 24-run loss in Hamilton on Sunday, David Warner and Matthew Wade flew out to Dubai to join nine of their fellow Test squad members for a training camp ahead of the four-match Qantas Tour of India.
The remaining five players chosen to embark on Test cricket’s toughest task were in the New Zealand ODI squad – Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Starc – and that group will today fly from New Zealand to the United Arab Emirates to complete the India squad.
The touring party are training at the International Cricket Council Academy and are scheduled to play a three-day intra-squad practice match from Friday.
Following that, the Test squad will fly to India on Monday week for a tour match in Mumbai on February 17-19 ahead of the first Test in Pune, starting on February 23.
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Meanwhile, a completely separate Australia squad, coached by Justin Langer along with his assistants Ricky Ponting and Jason Gillespie, will prepare to face Sri Lanka in the three-match KFC T20 INTL series, beginning on February 17.
Of the Chappell-Hadlee squad members, six players – skipper Aaron Finch, Pat Cummins, James Faulkner, Travis Head, Billy Stanlake and Adam Zampa – have been named in the 13-man squad for the T20I series.
Allrounder Marcus Stoinis’ heroics in the first ODI at Eden Park weren’t enough to earn him selection in that series, while young batsman Sam Heazlett, a late inclusion for the injured Wade in New Zealand, was also overlooked.
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The squad for the T20I series – excluding Chris Lynn, who continues to recover from a neck injury – will be available for the upcoming round of Sheffield Shield matches on February 10-13 before assembling in Melbourne ahead of the first match.
It’s an unprecedented situation that will see Australian teams playing on two different continents simultaneously; as Australia’s T20 side takes on Sri Lanka at the MCG, Australia’s Test team will be acclimatising to Indian conditions on the first day of their three-day tour match in Mumbai.
The same thing will happen two days later on the third day of the Test side’s warm-up match, with the second T20I in Geelong set to overlap.
And there will be a less than 24 hours between the conclusion of the final T20I in Adelaide and the beginning of Australia’s first Test in Pune.
Australia Test squad for India tour: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Stephen O'Keefe, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade.
Australia T20 squad for Sri Lanka series: Aaron Finch (c), Patrick Cummins, James Faulkner, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Michael Klinger, Chris Lynn, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Billy Stanlake, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa
February 6: Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Starc fly from New Zealand to the UAE. Remainder of the Chappell-Hadlee ODI squad return home
February 10-12: Intra-squad practice match in Dubai for Test players
February 10 – 13: Round seven of the Sheffield Shield
February 13: Australia Test squad fly from Dubai to India
February 17: Australia v Sri Lanka 1st T20I, Melbourne
February 17-19: India A v Australians, 3-day warm-up match, Mumbai
February 19: Australia v Sri Lanka 2nd T20I, Geelong
February 22: Australia v Sri Lanka 3rd T20I, Adelaide
February 23-27: India v Australia, 1st Test, Pune
March 4-8: India v Australia, 2nd Test, Bangalore
March 16-20: India v Australia, 3rd Test, Ranchi
March 25-29: India v Australia, 4th Test, Dharamsala