x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Wet weather puts a dampener on India coach Duncan Fletcher

Coach may demand his team's final training session be switched from ANZ Stadium to the Sydney Cricket Ground ahead of the Twenty20 series opener against Australia.

Duncan Fletcher, right, the India coach, was disappointed at the state of the ANZ pitch.
Duncan Fletcher, right, the India coach, was disappointed at the state of the ANZ pitch.

Duncan Fletcher, the India coach, may demand his team's final training session be switched from ANZ Stadium to the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) ahead of the Twenty20 series opener against Australia tomorrow.

With the sides set to go head to head in the first international played at Olympic headquarters, Fletcher was not impressed to find the ground's practice wickets too wet for use yesterday.

The visitors were forced to undergo fielding drills and a game of football while the Australians went through an intense two-hour outfield and nets session at the SCG.

Fletcher wants his team's final session today moved to the SCG.

"There was a bit of a concern with the practice pitches this morning," Les Burdett, the ANZ Stadium curator, said. "The centre pitch dried out beautifully, but the ones in the pocket don't get as much sun or air flow and hold a bit more [water].

"There were some concerns from the Indians. I spoke with Duncan Fletcher. He understood the predicament, but obviously he was disappointed, and rightfully so.

"He wanted firm pitches, but with the elements and the rain around, we were unable to deliver.

"Duncan in the end used [the session] as an orientation. He was disappointed because he wanted a decent workout with his players, but used it to get a feel for the ground and an understanding of what it is like to field here."

India have endured a forgettable tour, thrashed 4-0 in the Test series amid question marks over the futures of several ageing stars.

The middle-order batsman Virat Kohli and the pace bowler Ishant Sharma have clashed with Australia fans, while there have been a number of exchanges between opposing players on the pitch.

Meanwhile, Mickey Arthur, the Australia coach, has conceded that struggling top-order batsman Shaun Marsh went into the India series underdone and ill-prepared due to the Big Bash League (BBL) sidelining him from first-class cricket for two months.

With the Sheffield Shield placed in an eight-week hiatus to accommodate the BBL season, Marsh had just one Twenty20 innings under his belt before being rushed back from injury and scoring just 17 runs in six innings in the 4-0 Test series win over India.

Dropped from the Australia one-day side yesterday, Marsh faces an uphill battle to convince selectors he should retain his Test spot on the upcoming tour of the West Indies.

"He probably did need some time in the middle. It wasn't ideal for him," Arthur said.

"We hope he goes back to the shield and scores runs consistently there and puts himself in the frame for the West Indies tour."

* Press Association