Aussies set up batting camp ahead of India Test


New Australia coach Mickey Arthur has set up a training camp for his under-fire batsmen ahead of the opening Boxing Day Test against India in Melbourne. Concerned by Australia’s fallibility against the swinging ball exposed in the team’s seven-run loss to New Zealand in this week’s Hobart Test, Arthur has put in place a three-day camp in Melbourne next week. Cricket Australia said Thursday Test captain Michael Clarke will be joined by Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey, Brad Haddin, Dan Christian, Shane Watson and possibly Shaun Marsh, who has a back injury, in the MCG nets from next Tuesday. They will be facing bowling machines that will simulate the deliveries of tall Indian seamer Ishant Sharma and others.
Meanwhile in Canberra, David Warner, Phillip Hughes and Usman Khawaja, who all played in the Hobart Test, will be playing for a Chairman’s XI against India in a three-day game.
Arthur said the camp was designed to sharpen the focus of the Australian top order ahead of four Tests against the second-ranked Indians.
“What we’re going to do at the batting camp is we’re going to talk about the Indian bowlers, we’re going to set up bowling machines a la Ishant Sharma, guys like that,” Arthur told The Sydney Morning Herald Thursday.
“We’re going to practise against the swinging ball and get our basics right before Boxing Day.
“There’s no major reconstruction of anyone’s technique — it’s literally getting our guys thinking about the Test match, thinking as a group and honing our four-day skills to get the guys best prepared to play on Boxing Day.”
Watson, who is recovering from a hamstring injury, has endorsed the concept of a batsmen’s get-together, particularly as a vehicle to combat swing bowling, a weapon New Zealand used to great effect at Bellerive Oval.
“No doubt high-quality swing bowling is a big challenge, especially if the ball is moving late,” Watson told the newspaper.
“I’m not sure if it’s a problem for Australian batsmen, it’s a problem for cricketers in general. “No doubt there have been times when we’ve had collapses when the ball is swinging around and seaming around, but other teams are having challenges as well.”
Watson said Australia’s batsmen would have been working diligently on preparing individually for the vagaries of the Indian attack, regardless of whether a camp was called or not.
“Guys would be doing everything possible to make sure their games are in the best place and make sure what happened against New Zealand doesn’t happen again,” he said.