Australia’s stars of the future believe they will reap the rewards of precious time on the subcontinent as they eye higher honours.
The National Performance Squad (NPS), which includes the likes of South Australia wicketkeeper Alex Carey and Queensland batsman Marnus Labuschagne, gained valuable experience during their recent tour of India, which saw them visit the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai and play a two-day practice match.
Carey is one player in particular to could find the experience very handy down the track – having been named Australia A wicketkeeper for the now-cancelled tour of South Africa, it seems the South Australian is next in line after incumbent international gloveman Matthew Wade.
“(Batting and ‘keeping) were both challenging and the wicket we played on the other day spin and bounced,” Carey said.
“It was a really good experience to learn and understand what might work over here on these wickets.
“For me, sweeping worked and it was something I really wanted to work on and I think it’s developed quite well so far.
I know the conditions here a bit better now, so it things go my way in the future I’d absolutely have more of an idea about what to expect.”
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For Labuschagne, last year’s Matador Cup player of the tournament, it was a valuable chance to experience touring abroad.
“There’s always more room for learning but for my first trip to India I’ve learned a lot about how to go about my preparation here and about preparation,” Labuschagne said.
“I’ve learned a about playing spin and also fast bowling when the ball is reversing.
“Their bowlers are quite good in their conditions, so it’s just been about learning how they go about the lengths they bowl, the spin they bowl and how to play that also.
“It’s been a great learning experience, being able to play a couple of games as well to put all those skills you learn in the nest into action in the games.
“I’d love to have some tours over here, it’s exciting to get my first taste and I definitely want to come back.”
Australia haven’t won a Test series in India since 2004, coming agonisingly close before losing their four-Test Border Gavaskar series 2-1 earlier this year.
But with the next generation already being exposed to the unfamiliar, national high performance coach Ryan Harris hopes that record could be turned around.
"Coming over with some guys who hadn't been here before, it's been a great experience," Harris said.
"To be able to play a two-day game on a wicket that was very foreign to our boys … it's been a great trip, and just talking to the guys, they've benefited a lot from experiencing what India is.
"It was tough for our batters, tough for our spinners learning to bowl on that pitch … and with the heat, and a few guys going down quite badly with illness, all that is India to a tee really."
While the Bupa National Cricket Centre in Brisbane features wickets curated to mimic subcontinent conditions, Harris says there’s nothing like experiencing the real thing.
"We've got a wicket in Brisbane we use that virtually mirrors Indian wickets, but to get them playing on the real thing, in the heat, that's experiencing what playing in India is all about," he said.
"Hopefully these guys are touring here again in three, four, five years' time, so the sooner we expose them to these conditions, when they do come back it's not so foreign for them.
"The guys really made the most of it, and got what they wanted to get out of it."