Team India is slated to go on a full tour to Australia later this year and after their performance in England, the pre-tour preparation part might be given more focus on.
Keeping that in mind, ICC cricket academy in the UAE is ready to make “tailor-made” pitches to help India prepare for the two-month tour of Australia, which will have three ODIs, three T20s and four Tests.
“If India chooses to come here before their tour of Australia, it would be very good preparation for them,” says Will Kitchen, general manager of the ICC facility in Dubai.
The academy has pitches made from the soil in Asia and Australia and grass from England. The academy has 22 pitches — 10 sub-continental, eight Australian and four English. They have two ICC-approved playing grounds, where pitches are made of Asian and Australian soil — the Australian soil is from Gabba in Brisbane and WACA in Perth. There’s also an English square in the nets.
“We don’t have any availability for our venue now through till April next year. So it’s very, very busy. Obviously, the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) makes good use of our venue. International schedules change, but we are flexible. If we get a letter of interest from the BCCI, we won’t turn it down. If there’s an opportunity to host India, we really won’t turn it down,” says Kitchen.
India’s next series is against West Indies, who will play two Tests, five ODIs and three T20 internationals in October-November.
India’s tour of Australia begins with T20I series on November 25 and the first Test starting at Adelaide from December 6. “A lot of these high performance centres are very good. But what we have is completely unique. And I think that’s our key. We are able to provide tailor-made facilities and pitches to anybody. We can host two international games plus an international team for training at the same time. The scale and quality of the venue is top-class,” says Kitchen, adding that the academy is the “busiest in the world”.
In 2012, Alastair Cook led England team trained in the academy before their tour to India and they ended up winning the Test series 2-1. Even the Aussies trained here before their India tour last year and won the first Test on a rank turner in Pune.
“They (Australia) equipped themselves really well for the Indian conditions. We hosted an extensive camp where we tailor-made the venue to help prepare the Australian Test side,” says Kitchen.
“The counties usually come in March before the start of their domestic season and use the English wickets,” Ziyaad-Ahmad Parker, a South African coach says.
(with indianexpress.com inputs)