Gilchrist's secret to Asian success

Wicketkeeper-batsman says patience and learning from your mistakes are the keys to Australian success against spin

A horses-for-courses selection approach for next year's tour to India is not the tonic for Australia's subcontinent batting troubles, according to former vice-captain Adam Gilchrist.

The swashbuckling wicketkeeper-batsman says it took him multiple tours to adapt to spinning pitches and the current crop of players should be given the same opportunity.

Australia suffered a clean sweep in their three-Test series against Sri Lanka last month, prompting Cricket Australia's General Manager of High Performance Pat Howard to suggest players who performed well on previous Asian tours could leapfrog those who score big mainly in Australian conditions for the Indian series next year.

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Gilchrist's first of five Asian Test tours was a 2-1 series loss to India in 2001.

After scoring a century in the opening match in Mumbai, he then posted scores of 0, 0, 1 and 1 in his remaining four innings.

However, he returned three years later to captain the side for most of their 2-1 series victory, Australia's first series win on Indian soil since 1969.

Gilchrist scored a century in the first Test of that 2004 series and finished his career with a batting average of 37 from 15 Tests in Asia which, while well down on his career mark of 47, is a solid return, especially for a wicketkeeper-batsman.

"It took us a few goes in the subcontinent before we got it right," Gilchrist told AAP.

"The key was the basic philosophy of learning from your mistakes.

"And I'm sure the current group are very readily studying what went wrong and hopefully storing that away for when they're next in those conditions."

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Gilchrist says the tactical key behind the team's 2004 success was holding back some of their natural aggression, which has long been a trademark of Australian teams.

"It's about learning a way to survive first and foremost," he said.

"If you can survive long enough, the game changes and momentum changes and you can start building in the fashion that you do in Australian conditions.

"Sometimes we had to defend to attack.

"Not having three slips and a gully, we just had one slip on the first ball and blokes out on the boundary to try and grind teams down."

With Australia's Test wickets not conducive to the turning ball, Gilchrist said it would be difficult to gauge players' ability to handle spin and implement a horses-for-course policy.

"I didn't see too many guys troubled by any spin last year in Australia," Gilchrist said.

"It's a bit of a myth that one at the moment."

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