Howard hints change in subcontinent tact

Head of Cricket Australia's High Performance department says form in the subcontinent will weigh heavier than summer performances when selectors form India touring party

Australian cricket will likely adopt a horses-for-courses approach for next year's February-March tour of India.

Desperate to rectify the current team's worrying streak of nine consecutive Test defeats on the subcontinent, high-profile players could be dropped for the four-match Border-Gavaskar series.

And while Cricket Australia don't want sweeping changes for series played at home, subcontinent specialist batting line-ups are definitely on the agenda for matches in Asia.

"We're most certainly going to end up with a horses-for-courses mentality," CA's Executive General Manager of High Performance Pat Howard told AAP.

"When we go to India the form in the subcontinent will be extremely important.

"That might mean some players play really well during the summer and don't go to India."

Australia entered the recent three-Test series with Sri Lanka as the No.1 side in the world having only ever lost to the hosts once in Test history.

Each of the Australian top five selected for the first Test had a career average of at least 50 before the series but of those, only captain Steve Smith scored a century and David Warner was the only other batsman to pass fifty in the 3-0 loss.

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Usman Khawaja and Joe Burns were dropped for the third Test after they averaged less than 15 in the first two matches and Howard suggested figures from that tour would carry more weight than those from the upcoming home summer when it came to picking a touring party for India.

"It's going to put a lot of pressure on certain players because some adapted very well and some didn't," he said. "We need to assess that information for the lead-in to India."

Time constraints could also cause issues for the visitors ahead of the tour as they look to win just their second series in the country since 1969.

Venues have been announced, but the timing of the schedule is yet to be confirmed by the Indian authorities. It remains to be seen how much of a gap there will be between the conclusion of the Australian summer and the first Test in India.

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Selectors may therefore opt in favour of those who performed on last year's Australia A tour of the subcontinent.

Opener Cameron Bancroft averaged 74.66 after scoring 150 in the second first-class match against India A, while Shaun Marsh's century against Sri Lanka lifts his average to 78.60 in three Tests on the subcontinent.

Victorians Peter Handscomb and Marcus Stoinis were others to post impressive figures with the bat on last year's tour, which was captained by Khawaja and included Burns, while Stephen O'Keefe was the best with the ball.

"That was part of trying to build into India," Howard said.

"We need to find a way with personnel and lead-in times where possible to get better results than what we have."

Such A-series tours are seen as the long-term answer for preparing players for future subcontinent tours.

Meanwhile CA will look to introduce lower and slower pitches in the Matador BBQs One-Day Cup as a means to test players on spinning decks.

"You do get tougher wickets around the world and we do want to see players who can adapt in those conditions," Howard said.

Aussie Averages in Asia

Shaun Marsh: 393 runs @ 78.60 (in three Tests)
Steve Smith: 582 @ 41.57 (seven)
David Warner: 597 @ 33.16 (nine)
Mitch Marsh: 327 @ 32.70 (five)
Moises Henriques: 164 @ 23.42 (four)
Adam Voges: 118 @ 19.66 (three)
Usman Khawaja: 115 @ 19.16 (four)
Matthew Wade: 62 @ 18.83 (three)
Glenn Maxwell: 80 @ 13.33 (three)
Peter Nevill: 51 @ 8.50 (three)
Joe Burns: 34 @ 8.50 (two)

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