Australia begin preparations for blockbuster Test series in India

Four-Test series between top-ranked teams begins in Nagpur next week

Australia haven't won a Test series in India since 2004. EPA
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If last year was all about T20 cricket, with it being the year of the T20 World Cup in Australia, this year will mostly be about ODIs with the 50-over showpiece event in India in October.

Sandwiched between the two World Cups is the little talked about World Test Championships final in June in England. The top two teams at the end of the current rankings cycle will contest for the second WTC title after New Zealand won the inaugural championship in 2021.

As things stand, Australia and India are expected to fight out in the WTC final, as they are ranked one and two. But before they start dreaming about a grand showdown in UK, there is an equally titanic battle waiting for them this month - the four-Test Border Gavaskar Trophy (BGT) in India.

Test matches between India and Australia have consistently been some of the most keenly fought contests this century, with players from both teams putting up career-defining performances.

India have won the last three BGT titles, including two successive Test series win in Australia. The Aussies, however, have not win in India since 2004 and will be looking to become the first visiting team since England in 2012 to win a Test series in India.

Australia haven't had the best build-up to the series, which begins in Nagpur on February 9, deciding to hold only a training camp in Bengaluru ahead of the first match. They landed in India on Wednesday and started training among themselves, instead of relying on below-par tour games.

Meanwhile, Pakistan-born Australia cricketer Usman Khawaja was cleared to join the national squad for the India tour after his visa issues were cleared up ahead of his rescheduled departure on Thursday.

Cricket Australia said Khawaja was flying out of Melbourne, more than a day later than planned, after having to wait for his visa to be approved.

The other members of Australia’s 18-man squad were granted entry to India in time to take flights on Tuesday and Wednesday to their training camp in Alur near Bengaluru.

The second Test is set to begin in New Delhi on February 17, the third on March 1 in Dharamsala and the final Test from March 9 at the 132,000-capacity Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

If India win the Test series by a margin of two Tests, they will become the No 1 team in all three formats.

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Updated: February 02, 2023, 9:43 AM