Clarke says Ashes far from mind ahead of grueling India series

Sydney, Feb 12: Australian captain Michael Clarke has said that his focus currently is on doing well in the four-Test series against India and not on the forthcoming Ashes series in England.

Underlining the importance of India Tests, Clarke said that most of the Australian players have already prepared to play the first of two tour matches to adapt to Indian conditions, News.com.au reports.

Clarke highlighted the difficulties of playing in the different Indian conditions and added that for this reason, a large 17-member team had been chosen.

He also said that it is not surprising that Australia have won just a single Test series in India in 2004 over the past 43 years, which, he added, were his debut Test series.

Mentioning that playing in India requires plenty of skill, stamina and character, Clarke said that his team needed to cover all bases, particularly with their attack, with five fast bowlers, two spinners, a medium pace all-rounder and a spinning all-rounder.

Clarke further said that fast bowlers played a big part in their success in India during 2004 and will again, and added that it is easy to bat with a straight ball in India, unlike Australia, where taking the new ball is the best time to bowl.

Clarke said that fast bowlers needed to bowl straight to gain lbws and bowleds rather than catches behind the wicket like in Australia.

Stressing on the need to master the reverse swing, Clarke said that it becomes difficult to bat when the ball starts to reverse swing and the pitch wears and turns and added that for that reason, a bowler needed to be patient.

Speaking about the pitches in India, Clarke said that as the pitches wear they develop natural variation and added that deliveries begin to bounce at different heights and come on at varying pace.

He also spoke about spin bowling, revealing that on any Indian tour there is always a lot of spin so at times conditions could dictate two spinners.

Clarke and his remaining team will have a three-day match before the first of four Tests begins at Chennai in 10 days. (ANI)