Chennai: Australian captain Michael Clarke has decided to go with a lone spinner in Nathan Lyon against India in the first Test and believes that one needs "courage" to stick to their plans irrespective of whether you are bowling spin or facing it.
"Playing spin bowlers is no different to playing fast bowling. You need to have the courage to stick to that plan whether you make zero or 100. Sometimes it works well and sometimes it does not. Now we are going to try our best. That is for sure," Clarke told mediapersons on the eve of first Test starting here this Friday.
On not having a second specialist spinner, he answered, “I have made plenty of mistakes before and enough to say before making another mistake. But, the focus is to pick the members to have best success. And if that does not work, we reassess for the next Test matches."
"I have seen on England matches on television. After the first Test, they brought on Panesar and they had huge impact. So, you have to learn from how teams had their successes in the sub-continent to be sure. But like I said it is silly to say that we should play like somebody else. We will play our brand of cricket and stick to our strengths," Clarke reiterated.
Clarke also explained the reason for announcing first XII, 48 hours prior to the start of the Test.
"There are a couple of reasons. Mainly, the reason was that we had such a big squad. The second reason is that Moises Henriques is making his debut and if he wants to have his family to India to watch the match, it is an opportunity as well."
Clarke still feels that his fast bowlers will be able to get their variations going.
"It generally spins a lot more but it will also be a bit of up and down. I hope that fast bowlers will be able to execute their skills to get some balls to get quicker and some balls to be little bit slower. Whether it reverses or not, you still have the natural variations. Hopefully with reverse swing, we got the ammunition to be able to execute that."
For Clarke, there is no use trying to imitate someone else's style of play and develop one's own style.
"To me, it is no good to me, personally bat like Damien Martyn or Ricky Pointing since it is not going to help to have success. I am going to play the way I play my best cricket. The same regards to the team. It is no good that we pick the same team as India. We have a different team to England or South Africa."
Asked about spin cover for Lyon, he answered,"We have an advantage in conditions where we think that fast bowling will play a part. But on the other hand we do have our balance in Nathan Lyon and David Warner is bowling lot of leg spins in the nets and I can bowl some left arm orthodox as well."
Veteran pacer Mitchell Johnson has not been included in the playing XI but Clarke defended the decision.
"When selecting your team, you have to pick the best attack and not the best individual bowlers, who perhaps gets selected always. We have picked a team that will have success under the available conditions here. That is the main reason and it certainly not personal or individual player is fighting against each other and trying to get in the XI."
On the strategy that his batsmen will employ, Clarke quipped,"I think you have team plans with regard to communicate and talk about opposition bowlers. The key to batting is partnerships and we do have team plans and I think individually you are going to have your own plan regards especially to how you start your innings.
"For me, as a captain it is about acknowledging that and accepting that in putting faith in the other player or roll back and support them."
Ashes is a series that every cricketer from Australia and England aspire to play for but the Indo-Australian rivalry is certainly not far behind.
"It is a huge series. It is as special a series for Australian player to come and play in India, which has always been one of the toughest teams to play against and we always look forward to that challenge.
"Neither are we are looking back at our performances against South Africa and Sri Lanka nor we are not looking forward to the Ashes. We are really focused on this series."
Clarke always has had fond memories of playing in India as he got a century on his debut in Bangalore and en route his ton, he decided to wear the Baggy Green.
Reminded about that incident, he stated,"I think I will never take off my helmet this time."
Answering to a query as to how much has changed in these eight years, he said,"I have grown little bit older now and a bit wiser. I have got few more grey hairs. I am still loving my cricket as much and I am really enjoying the young team that we have at the moment."
On the younger players, he commented,"They have not played in longer version matches in India but they have enjoyed being in India whenever they have come for Twenty20 matches."
"In Australia, we have less spice (in our dishes) and here in India, it is lot of spice. There are so many great things about being in this beautiful country. I am very lucky that I have the chance to come here as captain as the Australian side. I am as excited as I was in 2004 when I made my debut. I am just excited now and really hope that this team has some success in the tour."