Assured of a spot in Australia’s playing XI by coach Justin Langer for the first Test starting on Thursday, December 6, left-hand batsman Travis Head will pick the brains of junior state teammate, Harry Nielsen, in order to be best equipped for countering the genuine threat of supreme off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
Harry Nielsen, a left-hander himself, scored a hundred in Cricket Australia XI's tour encounter against Virat Kohli's men and he is learned to have handled the immensely skillful bowler quite well. This is where Head is intent on taking inspiration from the South Australian forward to the task.
"Harry played well against him yesterday so when he gets home off the plane I’ll have a word to him," Head said to cricket.com.au, "He’s a world-class bowler, but I think we’ve got some world-class batters as well. So I think it’ll be a good contest. We’ll get through the next couple of days of training, train well, prepare well and prepare to play. I feel ready to go and hopefully, I’ll get the nod. Our bowlers … they’ll test us out in the next three days, which will be good."
Ashwin returned with figures of 2/122 at the Sydney Cricket Ground with left-handers Nielsen (100) and D’Arcy Short (74) handling him astoundingly.
Ranked no.7 in the ICC Test rankings, Ashwin doesn’t boast of a convincing record down under – 21 wickets at 54 from six Tests in Australia, which is chalk to cheese in comparison with his career bowling average of 25. The off-spinner also strikes quite badly at almost 97 in the country.
And while the 31-year-old is a better bowler than before, Head is taking genuine confidence from Ashwin's poor record in Australia.
He said, "We’ll get through the next couple of days of training, train well, prepare well and prepare to play. I feel ready to go and hopefully, I’ll get the nod. Our bowlers … they’ll test us out in the next three days, which will be good."
"Then you can walk out in the middle knowing you’ve prepared well and are ready to go. If I can get through those guys I think I could get through anyone in the world,” and signed off.