ICL: Indian Cricket League


Quiet month leaves Symonds hungry

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symondA washout at the Junction Oval was hardly ideal preparation for India ahead of the Boxing Day Test but Australia have not exactly had a textbook lead-up either. They wrapped up a convincing 2-0 Test triumph against Sri Lanka more than a month ago and since then the players have had to settle for a spattering of state outings - when Cricket Australia let them take part - and a rain-shortened ODI series against New Zealand.

Switching into Test mode might be easier for India, who had less than a week between finishing their Test contest with Pakistan and flying to Melbourne. Australia’s coach Tim Nielsen said it would be a mistake to think that India will not be ready for Boxing Day just because unseasonal rain ruined their only three-day warm-up game.

“They’re coming off a pretty tough series against Pakistan,” Nielsen said as his own squad settled in Melbourne after regaining the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy in Hobart on Thursday. “In the end it might even be a positive for them that they get a good spell and they get to freshen up.”

Like most international teams in recent years Australia have become adept at switching between limited-overs cricket and Test matches. Throw in their Twenty20 match against New Zealand just over a week ago and Australia will have played all three forms of the game within the space of 15 days. Andrew Symonds said it took real focus to revert to a Test mindset after finishing a one-day series.

“It’s easier to go from Test cricket to one-day cricket,” Symonds said. “But back the other way … it’s not a big change, it’s just a small one, but something you’ve got to be conscious of. [But] everyone within the group pretty much knows how to prepare for a Test match.”

Symonds was one of the Australian squad members who did not have a Pura Cup outing during their quiet period in late November and early December as he rested and got rid of his ankle niggle ahead of the Chappell-Hadlee games. He did not see that as a problem, however, and said he was ready to put on his whites once more.

“Sometimes it’s a blessing in disguise that you get a bit of a break,” Symonds said. “Sometimes when you haven’t had any cricket you’re extra keen to get out there and compete, so I think it won’t do us any harm.”

Australia are still undecided as to the makeup of their attack as the MCG pitch remains an under-cover mystery while it is sheltered from Melbourne’s rain. Whether the pitch - and India’s batsmen - would be protected from a four-man fast-bowling unit Symonds was unsure, but he said he was prepared to take extra spinning responsibilities if Australia chose to leave Brad Hogg out.

Symonds has fond memories of Test matches in Melbourne - he made his first Test half-century at the MCG two years ago against South Africa and followed it last summer with his maiden century. He finished with 156 in that memorable Ashes innings, which was part of a rearguard 279-run stand with his great mate Matthew Hayden after Australia fell to 5 for 84.

He said he was definitely more relaxed ahead of Boxing Day this season, having now secured his place in the Test line-up. “Leading up to the Brisbane Test [against Sri Lanka this year] I was sort of on edge for the start of the summer,” Symonds said. “I was definitely on edge before this Test match last year, just purely through nerves and not being sure whether I could hold my spot or not. [This year] I’ll probably be a bit easier to live with.”

Source:Cricket News

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This entry was posted on Saturday, December 22nd, 2007 and is filed under General, Cricket.

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