Currently occupying No. 1 spot in the ICC Test rankings for teams, Australia are all set to tour India for a four-match Test series, starting next month.
Ahead of the prestigious Border-Gavaskar Trophy, former Australian captain Michael Clarke has expressed his shock over the fact that the Pat Cummins-led side won’t play practice or tour games leading up to the Test series.
According to Clarke, not playing a tour game could have a "significant" impact on the outcome.
"That's the part (not playing tour games) I don't understand," Clarke was quoted as saying by Big Sports Breakfast on Tuesday (January 24).
"The no tour game before the first Test in India. I hope I'm proven wrong but I think that is going to be significant."
Notably, Australia have not won a Test series in India since 2004. Prior to that, they won a Test series on Indian soil way back in 1969.
Clarke, who was part of the Australian squad that emerged victorious on the tour of India in 2004, added that playing 20-over or 50-over games in India is totally different from competing in the longest format.
"You need a completely different plan to what you have (been) playing in Australia, the way you start your innings against spin bowling, the way you play reverse swing, through the Australian summer we didn't see any reverse swing, the games were over in two, three days," he said.
The Australian team is expected to land in India in the middle of next week, giving them around seven days to prepare for the iconic series, and Clarke felt that wouldn't be enough.
"You need to bat in the best possible conditions (in India) because after that, if you haven't grown up playing in those conditions, man it's extremely difficult to start your innings.
"And if you get in, you need to go on and make a big score because your first 20 runs in India in second innings, whoa, a ball that you go forward to and block in Australia easily against spin, over there can roll along the ground, can bounce and take your glove.
"You can go to block it outside off and it bowls you leg stump, natural variation over there is massive."
The highly-anticipated Test series between India and Australia is slated to get underway on February 9 in Nagpur. Delhi will host the second Test from February 17 while Dharamshala and Ahmedabad will stage the third and fourth Tests from March 1 and March 9, respectively.
Australia Squad: Pat Cummins (captain), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Lance Morris, Todd Murphy, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner.