Cricket Australia chief Kevin Roberts has brushed aside concerns over the pitches dished up for this summer’s Border-Gavaskar series following complaints from Tim Paine that the surfaces were more suited to the tourists than the hosts.
India’s batsmen have plundered five centuries thus far in the series to Australia’s none, with no Australian among the top three run-scorers.
That weight of runs has taken its toll, with India 2-1 up in the series and Australia standing little chance of winning at Sydney after Virat Kohli declared at 7-622.
After play on day two captain Paine said a lack of bounce had made it difficult for Australia’s bowlers to get an joy out of century-maker Cheteshwar Pujara (193), while after the Boxing Day Test he vented his frustrations that the pitches had ‘taken away from Australia’s strengths’.
Speaking to reporters ahead of Jane McGrath Day, Roberts said Paine’s complaints would “not necessarily” influence Australia’s pitches going forward, instead suggesting there was something to be learned from the way India had played.
“I think the Indians have given us something to aspire to with their batting display in this Test,” he said, adding that the Australians could benefit in the long run from their encounter with the top ranking side in the world.
“We’re up against the best in the world. It’s been a tough challenge for our batters and bowlers but it’s fantastic for them to see first-hand what it takes to be the best in the world and how we can aspire to be the best in the world in the future.”
India is on course to win its first ever Test series in Australia, and in 2018 became the first team from Asia to ever win Tests in England, South Africa and Australia in a calendar year. While Kohli’s outfit lost its campaigns against England and South Africa, complaints about the conditions were few and far between, with the side showing admirable adaptability.
It is an approach Roberts says the Australians can take on for themselves as they begin the long term project of climbing back to the top of the ICC Test rankings.
“That’s our focus, regardless of the conditions we play in around the world, we have to match it with the opposition.”
“We’ve got to be adaptable – and that’s not easy and that will take time. But we’ll be building our plans with a longer term vision for high performance and the team and taking that 1 match at a time and aspiring to be the best in the world in the longer term future.”
Despite the absence of all three of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, Roberts said the public’s expectations for this summer were not too high.
“You don’t set foot on a cricket field without having the intent to win. Our goal will always be to win – we do have a non-negotiable expectation that we compete with honour and we’lll never let go of that. But our goal will always be to win – and we’ll be doing everything we can to support he team in winning.”
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