Australia will send an advance party of 8 players to India this week to help adjust to the playing conditions ahead of the 4-Test series later this month, Australia Cricket board said on Monday.
Chief selector John Inveracity said the squad would travel to India in 3 separate groups catering for playing commitments in the current one day international series at home against the West Indies which ends next week.
It is planned to have Jackson Bird, Ed Cowan, Moises Henriques, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and Steve Smith travel to India on coming Thursday Inveracity said. He added that all-rounder Glenn Maxwell and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade would leave on Saturday along with opening batsman David Warner, who is recovering from a thumb injury.
The remaining 6 players -Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Xavier Doherty, Mitchell Starc, Phillip Hughes, and Mitchell Johnson - will travel on February 11 at the finish of the ODI series against West Indies, subject to minor alteration, he said. The players in the 17-man squad will travel to India in 3 separate groups in an effort to find the best balance for players.
Australia, who have lost 5 of their last 7 Tests in India and have not won a series there since 2004, have 2 warm-up games in Chennai ahead of the opening Test in the same city on February 22-26.Inverarity said teenage left-arm spinner Ashton Agar would also travel to India and spend a week, playing in the 1st warm-up fixture and providing nets practice for the Australian batsmen in the lead-up to the Chennai Test.
2012 we took Mitchell Starc to the West Indies to further his development and this is a similar chance for Ashton, Inveracity said.