Australia to send advance party for India tour
Australia will send an advance party of eight players to India this week to help acclimatise to the playing conditions ahead of the four-test series later this month, Cricket Australia said on Monday.
Chief selector John Inverarity said the squad would travel to India in three separate groups catering for playing commitments in the current one-day series at home against the West Indies which ends next week.
"It is planned to have Jackson Bird, Ed Cowan, Moises Henriques, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and Steve Smith travel to India on Thursday (February 7)," Inverarity said.
He added that allrounder Glenn Maxwell and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade would leave on Saturday along with opening batsman David Warner, who is recovering from a thumb injury.
"The remaining six players – Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Xavier Doherty, Mitchell Starc, Phillip Hughes, Mitchell Johnson – will travel on February 11 at the conclusion of the ODI series against West Indies, subject to minor alterations," he said.
"The players in the 17-man squad will travel to India in three separate groups in an effort to find the best balance for players."
Australia, who have lost five of their last seven tests in India and have not won a series there since 2004, have two warm-up games in Chennai ahead of the opening test in the same city on February 22-26.
Inverarity said teenage left-arm spinner Ashton Agar would also travel to India and spend a week, playing in the first warm-up fixture and providing nets practice for the Australian batsmen in the lead-up to the Chennai test.
"Last year we took Mitchell Starc to the West Indies to further his development and this is a similar opportunity for Ashton," Inverarity said.
AUSTRALIA TOURING SQUAD: Michael Clarke (captain), Ed Cowan, David Warner, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Matthew Wade, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Moises Henriques, James Pattinson, Xavier Doherty, Jackson Bird, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith.