Australia v South Africa - First Test: Day 2
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 18: Australia celebrate a wicket during day two of the First Test match between Australia and South Africa at The Gabba on December 18, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)
Australia v South Africa - First Test: Day 2

Former Australian captain Michael Clarke has called out Australia's preparation for their four-Test tour of India, citing the lack of a practice matches as a major issue.

Tour games - generally played in the lead-up to Test series - have been disappearing more and more from international calendars in recent times as the swarm of T20 leagues around the globe and ever-increasing international schedules create a calendar with no time on them.

Despite that, Australia afforded both the West Indies and South Africa tour games this summer on their respective visits down under.

Australia have refused to play tour games on recent expeditions abroad, including successful trips to Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 2022, but Clarke, speaking on SEN Radio, said he couldn't understand why Australia aren't tuning up for their Tests against India with a match in the conditions.

“That's the part I don't understand,” Clarke said.

“The no tour game before the first Test in India. I hope I'm proven wrong but I think that is going to be significant. Batting in those conditions in one-day cricket and T20 cricket is one thing, batting in Indian conditions in Test cricket it is a completely different game.

“You need a completely different plan to what you have playing in Australia, the way you start your innings against spin bowling, the way you play reverse swing, through the Australian summer we didn't see any reverse swing, the games were over in two, three days.

“So reverse swing is going to play a big part (in India), all these batters that walk out and play bowlers bowling 130-140ks – there's every chance India is going to play at least two spinners, so it's a completely different game.”

Ahead of their tours to Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 2022, Australia used specially crafted nets in Melbourne to replicate sub-continent conditions, and are reported to be doing the same ahead of their trip to India, although most players are currently involved in the Big Bash League.

It's understood Australia will fly to India after the Australian Cricket Awards, to be held on January 30, but Clarke said it simply won't be enough time.

“You need to bat in the best possible conditions (in India) because after that, if you haven't grown up playing in those conditions, man it's extremely difficult to start your innings,” Clarke said on Tuesday.

“And if you get in you need to go on and make a big score because your first 20 runs in India in second innings, whoa, a ball that you go forward to and block in Australia easily against spin, over there can roll along the ground, can bounce and take your glove.

“You can go to block it outside off and it bowls you leg stump, natural variation over there is massive.”

Australia's tour of India gets underway in Nagpur on February 9.