5 Australians on their maiden India tour
Smiths Australia team have travelled only once to Asia before this a 0-3 walloping received in Sri Lanka in July last year.
Australia last won a Test match on Indian soil in 2004, in the heady days of Shane Warne, Glenn Mcgrath, Matthew Hayden and other such buccaneers. Since then, there have been 11 Tests between the two sides in India, with the home side winning 9 and two being drawn. Michael Clarke, for all his successes in India, cannot boast of leading his team to a single Test win in India.
Captain Steve Smith, who will be on his second Test tour of India, having played under Clarke in 2013, will be looking to buck the trend in the 4-Test series starting later this week and continuing to the end of March. India vs Australia 2017: Ready for a piece of history
The Australian batting line-up wears a new look. Quite a few youngsters have been brought in, in hope that they deal with the subcontinent’s low and slow tracks better than their seniors. Of the sixteen players named in the squad, nine players were part of the 2013 series as well – Smith, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc, Jackson Bird, Nathan Lyon, Ashton Agar.
Of the remaining seven, three have exposure to Indian conditions, having played in the IPL.
# 1 Steve O’Keefe
O’Keefe has played only 4 Tests in his career, but is likely to get this tally doubled at the end of this India series. The 32-year-old left-arm orthodox spinner will possibly partner Nathan Lyon to bowl those long spells of spin through the day. He claimed 4 Pakistan wickets in his only Test of the series at home in January this year, and 3 wickets in the warm-up match against India A, thus putting him in good stead in terms of selection.
O’Keefe was also part of an Australia A team that toured India in 2015, playing against a team that consisted of Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul and others, winning one match and drawing the other. He is preparing for what could be the defining series in his international career by seeking advice from spinners who have had success in India. Also, he pulled out midway from the Big Bash League to prepare for the longer format.
O’Keefe is also a handy batsman lower down the order, and because of this ability he has to spend long periods at the crease, he is likely to be chosen as the side’s bowling all-rounder, with the selections of Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh depending on how the batsmen fare through the series.
Performance in warm-up match – 8*, 3/101, 19*