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Spin bowler Sridharan & English spinner Panesar named Australia spin consultants for India tour

Sydney, January 17: Former India all-rounder Sriram Sridharan on Tuesday rejoined the Australian cricket team as a spin consultant for their upcoming four-Test tour in the subcontinent, starting February 23.

Sridharan’s appointment as a part of the support staff comes a day after Cricket Australia (CA) appointed former English left-arm spin bowler Monty Panesar for the same role.

Sridharan, who worked with the national side on their tour of Sri Lanka last year as well as the World T20 in India, will travel to Dubai with some of the Australia players on January 29 to train at the International Cricket Council Academy.

Speaking on the appointment, CA’s Executive General Manager Team Performance, Pat Howard, said it was good to have consistency in the spin consultant role.

“Sridharan has worked with us on a number of occasions now all across our pathway system and he is currently in Dubai with our Under-16 team providing his expertise on sub-continental conditions,” Howard said in a statement.

“He knows our players very well and has a wealth of knowledge on the conditions that our players will face in India.”

Sridharan, who played eight One-day Internationals (ODI) for India, said he was excited at the prospect of adding value to the Australian team’s spin again.

“As always, I consider it a great honour to be given the opportunity to work with the Australian Men’s Team once again. I really look forward to adding value and contributing to a winning cause, against a quality opposition.”

“India is regarded as one of the toughest places to tour as a Test playing nation and I am looking forward to the challenge,” he added.

On the other hand, Panesar, who took 167 wickets in his 50-Test career will work with left-arm tweaker Stephen O’Keefe and young opener Matthew Renshaw at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane on pitches designed to replicate the dry, turning tracks they expect to encounter in India.

Australia have included three spinners to India, including uncapped leg-spinner Mitch Swepson, and all-rounders Ashton Agar and Glenn Maxwell in their 16-man squad.

The first match of the four-Test series between India and Australia will be played in Pune from February 23.

Meanwhile, former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson said that Australia’s tour to India can’t be worse than 2013, when he and four other players were suspended for a Test.

India dealt a 4-0 whitewash to the Aussies in 2013, a tour remembered for Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja being handed a one-Test ban for disciplinary breaches.

“It really can’t get any worse than what it was in 2013,” Watson told Cricket Australia’s website”.

Watson recalled how the 2004-05 squad fed off the back of pace triumvirate Glenn McGrath, Michael Kasprowicz and Jason Gillespie working in tandem with legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne.

Watson reserved rich praise for opener Matt Renshaw, saying he knows what to do and should just stick to his game plan.

“He knows his game incredibly well and I’m sure he’ll just stick to his game plan like he did in the Test matches he’s played. I’m sure he’ll have a lot of success,” Watson said.

“For a young guy to be able to have so much control over what he’s doing, shows he’s got what it takes to be successful in any conditions.”

Vir Rajendra

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