Australian batsman Usman Khwaja on Monday resorted to playing mind games ahead of the first Test, stating that the expectations to deliver the goods on rank turners could put the Indian spinners under pressure in the upcoming series.
"We've had enough practice and we are as ready as we are ever going to be. The Indian spinners have a lot of pressure on them too because if it is a turning wicket, they will be expected to take wickets, so there will be a bit of pressure on them. We're in India where the ball turns, you get reverse swing – the guys are really looking forward to the challenge," Khwaja said in Chennai.
Australian batsmen's woes against spinners were exposed once again as India A's spin duo of Rakesh Dhruv and Jalaj Saxena picked up nine wickets between them to enforce a follow on before the three-day warm-up match ended in a draw.
While Dhruv grabbed five for 51, Saxena took four for 61 to dismiss Australia for 235 in their first innings in reply to India A's total of 451. Following on, the Australian finished their second essay on 195 for three.
Conceding that spin plays a big part in Test matches in India, Khwaja said it's not always the case to be as the pacers can also excel with their disciplined line and length.
"We've actually said that spin plays a big part in India but it's not the only thing that plays a big part in India. They've got some good pace bowlers too, who can use the new ball and use the old reversing ball really well too.
"I think the guys know what to expect. I am a bit newer, so I am finding my feet a little bit. I've seen that pace can be as effective as spin out here and our bowlers proved that in the last two tour matches. Every wicket in India, I assume, will be a bit different," he said.
Asked whether the Aussie spinners fared well enough in the practice games, Khwaja replied, "In terms of practice, this is obviously what the spinners wanted. It obviously didn't go as well for them as it did for the Indian spinners, but the Indian batsmen also batted really well."
"I think as far as our bowling group is concerned, the spinners took more out of it, in terms of learning how the Indians will approach it come the first Test. The options are there for us in the spinning category, but it's a long tour. So to judge these guys in a one-off game wouldn't be fair," he added.
Khwaja said the team combination on whether to go with three pacers or two spinners will be decided based on the conditions.
"Moises (Henriques) bowled brilliantly in this game and the last game. I think our pace bowlers – Peter Siddle bowled lovely in this game, hit the deck hard and got it around their faces. I think it all depends on the conditions that we get served up in Chennai. It just depends on the best make-up of the team both in terms of batting and bowling."
The Pakistani-born Australian cricketer said the best way to approach a game is to always remain positive.
"I think you've got to be positive no matter where you play in the world. If you're not looking to score runs, you might as well not be in the middle. How you do it will be different for every player; just got to find a way to do it," he said.
Talking about his chances of playing the first Test starting on February 22, the 26-year-old said, "It'll be interesting. Obviously a lot of players in the Australian team up here, so it will be interesting to see what Michael Clarke and Mickey Arthur decide for the first Test. There have been a couple of good performances over the last couple of days."
Khwaja said the Indian spinners had put a lot of pressure on the visiting batsmen during the three-day tour game.
"You've got to give credit to the spinners; they bowled very well yesterday. They used the conditions brilliantly and put a lot of pressure on us. It was good to get out there and put ourselves under a bit of pressure."
Khwaja said he has always idolised West Indian batting great Brian Lara and wants to bat like him one day.
"I love Brian Lara. I wish I could bat like him. When I was young, sometimes I would mimic Brian Lara. That's one guy I have always looked up to. Later on, probably Adam Gilchrist -- another left-hander."
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