Kingaroy great gives advice to Aussie bat
AUSTRALIAN Test opener Matthew Renshaw has sought the advice of former Australian opener and Kingaroy-born Matthew Hayden on how best to tackle India in their upcoming four-Test tour of the subcontinent.
At just 20 years of age and standing 185cm tall, Renshaw has already drawn favourable comparisons to fellow Queenslander Hayden and he hopes to also emulate the Hall of Famer's 2001 series in India that saw him make 549 runs in three Tests.
Hayden famously dusted up practice pitches in Brisbane to mimic the subcontinent conditions prior to that breakout series, whereas Renshaw has spent recent weeks training on a specially designed spin wicket at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane. The results, Renshaw hopes, will be similar.
"I've had a couple conversations with (Hayden) over the phone and he told me to embrace it over there and get as much experience as I can,” Renshaw told cricket.com.au last week.
"I'm going to one of the hardest places to play in the world, so I'm trying to embrace it and enjoy the challenge.”
Indian tweakers Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are the world's number-one and number-two ranked bowlers and have been instrumental in India's recent domination in the Test arena, hence the emphasis on playing to spin.
Renshaw has continued to hone his skills on slow and turning pitches since arriving in Dubai and believes Hayden's mastery of the sweep shot is something he can replicate to success.
"I think the sweep shot will be a big one for me,” Renshaw said.
"I can probably get to the balls which are going to turn a bit better than the short guys without moving my feet too much, so I'll try and use that to my advantage as much as possible.
"The pitches here at the ICC Academy have been great since we arrived, it's the best preparation for India without going to India.”
At his Hall of Fame induction last month, Hayden stopped short of suggesting Renshaw employ the sweep shot. But he did say Renshaw needed an attacking option in the face of what will be a relentless Indian bowling attack.
"They just keep coming at you a thousand miles an hour and you're seemingly (always) under pressure, so you've got to have that circuit-breaker,” Hayden said.
India has lost just two of 24 Tests on home soil in the past five years and sits atop the ICC test rankings.
Second-placed Australia is win-less from the past 10 tours of the subcontinent, last tasting victory in 2004-05.
The first test begins in Pune on February 23.