Steve Smith: India tour won’t derail Ashes preparations


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Five one-dayers and three Twenty20s in India may not seem the wisest tour to play before the Ashes, but Steve Smith is confident his side will still be ready for England.

Steve Smith is confident Australia’s eight-match limited-overs tour of India will not disrupt his side’s preparations for this summer’s Ashes.

Smith’s squad has landed in India, where they’ll contest five one-dayers and three Twenty20s between September 17 and October 13, and the captain is adamant his side will have enough time between then and the Ashes to ready themselves for England.

“I know before last Ashes series we had a one-day tour as well of India, much the same as this one, so I don’t see any issue with it,” Smith told reporters on Sunday, referring to eight-match tour of India Australia played in 2013, which preceded the 5-0 Ashes whitewash of 2013-14.

“We’ve got plenty of time when we get back home to play a few Shield games and get ready for the Ashes as well.”

Steve Smith: India tour won’t derail Ashes preparations
Steve Smith is tipping a high-scoring series.Source:News Corp Australia

Australia’s previous visit to the country was marred by a series of controversies, the bulk of which involved Smith and/or opposing captain Virat Kohli.

Smith expects a far less fiery contest than the Test series that unfolded in February and March.

“I think it’ll be played in good spirit,” Smith said in Chennai, where his side will face a local XI on Tuesday in their only warm-up before the series starts in the same city.

“It’s always a hard-fought contest playing against India.”

Kohli remarked after India’s 2-1 Test series win over Smith’s side that he is no longer friends with Australian players and never will be.

The firebrand’s antics and words ensured he was a near-constant presence in the headlines earlier this year, but he struggled with the bat.

Kohli managed just 46 runs at an average of 9.2; the superstar has never logged a lower average in a Test series.

He has since returned to form, finishing a recent limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka with knocks of 82, 110no and 131.

“He is obviously a very good player and has a phenomenal ODI record,” Smith said.

“Hopefully we can keep him quiet as much as possible in this series.

“If we do that then hopefully it can go a long way in us having success on this tour.”

The 28-year-old would not be drawn on his own personal rivalry with Kohli: “I’m not too concerned about my differences with Kohli.”

Steve Smith: India tour won’t derail Ashes preparations
Virat Kohli and Steve Smith enjoy a frosty relationship.Source:AFP

Despite stunning India on a minefield of a pitch in Pune to begin February-March’s Test series, Australia’s woes against spin were still evident on that campaign, with finger-spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin taking 25 and 21 wickets respectively.

Smith does not see spin hurting Australia in the same way this month. Both Jadeja and Ashwin have been rested for the first three matches but more importantly for Smith is the confidence he takes from how his batsmen have played spin in the one-day format.

“I think the one-day group has played spin pretty well for a little while,” he said. “They’ve certainly got some good spin options and we’re going to have to play them well throughout this series.”

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