England proved India no more invincible at home: Michael Clarke

Chief selector Inverarity says quest for becoming the No. 1 in ICC Test ranking starts from the first Test at Chennai.

Updated: January 31, 2013 14:11 IST
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England's Test series (2-1) win on their recent tour of India is giving Michael Clarke and Company some extra dose of motivation ahead of Australia's campaign in India in February-March. With Indian spinners failing to exploit home conditions, the Australians will fly in with the self-belief that the Indians are no more tigers at home. Australia play four Test matches at Chennai (February 22-26), Hyderabad (March 2-6), Mohali (March 14-18) and Delhi (March 22-26).

Australia have included four spinners in their Test squad named on Thursday, but skipper Clarke believes his quick bowlers, spearheaded by Peter Siddle, will play a crucial role against a strong Indian batting line-up.

In an interview to Times of India, Clarke said: "It has been historically proven that quicks can be successful in India if they strive hard. In the 2005 series Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie bowled extremely well for Australia. Dale Steyn has done well for South Africa in India and James Anderson bowled brilliantly for England recently. We have a very good crop of fast bowlers and they are aware of the challenge a tour of India poses.

"In fact, they are all waiting to come to India and play before Indian crowds in what is going to be a really tough and important cricket assignment for each of them going forward in their careers. Bowlers like Siddle have the experience of bowling in India before and I am confident our fast bowlers will be up for it come February 22 in Chennai."

It is impossible to plan an Indian tour without spinners. National selector John Inverarity said in Melbourne on Thursday the 17-member squad has the right balance. "This squad has the flexibility that will be required for the varying conditions expected in India and it will provide valuable experience to a number of young players.

"The squad includes a spin bowling all-rounder in (Glenn) Maxwell and a medium-fast all-rounder in Moises Henriques. In aiming for more depth in a bowling attack, the squad would allow for three pace bowlers, a leading spinner and Maxwell or two pace bowlers, the two spinners and Henriques. These are two of the options.

"Xavier Doherty also returns to the Test squad. We certainly feel he is much improved in the longer format of the game since he made his Test debut in 2010-11 against England," added the chief selector.

The best batsman in 2012, Clarke wants to lead from the front. A win in India and the Ashes to follow will help Australia regain the No. 1 Test ranking. He said: "Year 2012 was indeed an enjoyable year for me. I played some good cricket and more importantly helped Australia have some success. The team did well to defeat India 4-0 at the start of the year in 2012 and right through we had some good results to show for our efforts. We are on our way to climbing up the Test ladder and in doing so the batsman in me has to step up and perform."

Australia play two warm-games - against the BCCI President's XI and India A. Both matches will be held in Chennai, the venue of the first Test. "It is a long tour and a very important one as we look to continue our improvement in Test cricket and our quest to return to the top of the ICC Test cricket rankings. We are also building towards back-to-back Ashes series," Inverarity said.

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