'Australia are known for mind games, sledges': Ashwin's befitting reply to Steve Smith's practice matches dig at India
Former Australia skipper Steve Smith took a dig at India pertaining to the tour games and the pitches provided by the BCCI. Veteran spinner R Ashwin has responded to Smith's remark with a befitting reply.
Australia did not opt for practice matches ahead of the much-anticipated Border-Gavaskar Test series which begins from February 9 in Nagpur. Instead, on doctored conditions, Australia held a four-day training camp in Alur, at the KSCA Stadium to gear up for the contest. However, former Australia skipper Steve Smith took a dig at India pertaining to the tour games and the pitches provided by the BCCI. Veteran spinner R Ashwin has responded to Smith's remark with a befitting reply.
When Smith was asked about the logic behind Australia not opting for a tour game, the star batter said that the team would benefit more from training on their own rather that playing such matches on "irrelevant" pitches, as he recalled the 2017 tour when the visitors were given a green top, contrary to the conditions in the first Test.
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“The last time we went (to India) I’m pretty sure we got served up a green top (to practice on) and it was sort of irrelevant. Hopefully, we get really good training facilities where the ball is likely to do what it’s likely to do out in the middle, and we can get our practice in,” said Smith. “We’re better off having our own nets and getting spinners in and bowling as much as they can.”
Reacting to Smith's claim, Ashwin admitted that in the Pune Test, the first match of the last series, Australia were served with a rank-turner, but referred to the Aussie's claim as sheer "mind games" adding that nobody plans these things.
"Australia are not playing any tour matches this time. This is not new. Even India avoids tour games when they go on a few overseas tours. Since Team India's schedule is packed with international games, it is not possible to turn up for practice games with the same intensity.
"Smith said, 'We got a green wicket in Brabourne and a completely opposite one in the first Test (during the 2017 series). In all fairness, it was a rank-turner in Pune. We might have given them a green track, but nobody plans all these things. However, Australia are known for its mind games and sledges before a series. They love doing that. It's their style of cricket," Ashwin said.
Meanwhile, for Australia, in a bid to better prepare for the Test series, they roped in Ashwin's duplicate. Baroda bowler Maheesh Pithiya was called to Australia's training session owing to his uncanny similarity with Ashwin in terms of bowling action.