Adam Gilchrist offers Steven Smith tips ahead of Australia's tour of India

By @saihoops on
Adam Gilchrist, Australia's tour of India
Former Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist seated with AFL player Adam Goodes in the spectator stands at the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 26, 2014. Reuters / Jason Reed

Adam Gilchrist, widely regarded as the greatest wicketkeeper-batsman in Australian cricket history, has a few words of advice for current captain Steven Smith ahead of the team's forthcoming Test tour of India.

Gilchrist, the stand-in captain during the first three Tests of Australia's successful campaign in 2004, has urged Smith to rely on the pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Jackson Bird instead of going the traditional route which would involve depending on spin bowlers in the slow pitches of India.

During Australia's historic series victory in 2004, fast bowlers Jason Gillespie (20 wickets), Glenn McGrath (14 wickets) and Michael Kasprowicz (9 wickets) led the way while Shane Warne shared the spoils with 14 scalps. Since that monumental win, the Aussies haven't won a solitary Test on Indian soil, let alone a series. 

The Aussies are riding on the momentum of four consecutive Test victories (one against South Africa and three against Pakistan) but face a stiff challenge against an Indian team that hasn't lost a Test since 2015. According to Gilchrist, Smith should avoid relying on the likes of Nathan Lyon, Steve O’Keefe, Ashton Agar, uncapped Mitchell Swepson and all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, who make a up a third of the 16-man Australia Test squad. 

“We ended up totally changing our policy in ‘04,” Gilchrist told Sky Sports Radio, via Sydney Morning Herald, while revealing how the team bounced back from a 2-1 series loss in 2001. “We went from thinking it all had to be based around spin and going to our quicks (instead)," added Gilchrist, who played 96 Test matches for Australia.

Adam Gilchrist reveals how he used fast bowlers during 2004 series

Gilchrist revealed that Warne was used to contain runs rather than take wickets during the 2004 series. “Warnie (Shane Warne) was obviously our key spinner (during the 2004 tour) and he did a wonderful job, but in a rare occasion it was almost like he was really tying an end up and it was the quicks who were doing the attacking.

“The main thing with the quicks was that we went really negative. We started with one slip, a deep point, a deep square leg and just played on the Indians’ egos. That was probably the key tactical change we made in that series and it worked nicely. It was a patience game, but it came through," added Gilchrist who led the team after regular captain Ricky Ponting missed the first three of four Tests due to an injury.

Adam Gilchrist, 45, acknowledged that beating India in their home soil would be a monumental task. The Indians are fresh off a 4-0 series win against England at home. “It’s a massive test and those guys are under no false illusions. England nearly won their first Test there then lost the series 4-0 in a five-Test series, so it’s a hard place to play but it’ll be interesting to watch Australia’s development.”

Australia's tour of India gets underway with the first of four Test matches at Pune starting Feb. 23. The month-long tour will culminate with matches at Bangalore, Ranchi and Dharmasala.