Australian leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson believes adapting to different conditions is the key to success in India and is counting on his previous experience in the subcontinent.
Australia A are yet to play a competitive game of cricket on their tour of India – they are playing a quadrangular one-day series involving South Africa A, India A and India B – owing to the inclement weather in Vijaywada and will begin their campaign against India A at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium after all remaining matches were shifted to Bengaluru.
With the first two fixtures being washed out due to heavy rains, teams have been denied outdoor training sessions, but Swepson is confident that the week-long training camp organised in Brisbane before the tour will hold the team in good stead.
"Obviously, we would have liked to train a bit more and be outdoors. The first week has been tough due to the weather but looking ahead to the game on Thursday and hopefully we can get out there and play some good cricket," the 24-year-old said.
"We had a great week's preparation in Brisbane before we came over. I think the boys have prepared well before we even got here and now we are looking forward to India A. We did get a couple of sessions in Vijaywada, so I think we are good to go come Thursday."
Australia kick off their campaign on Thursday, 23 August and Swepson, who is on his fourth tour to India, believes his experience of having played in these conditions before will be useful.
"Having that prior knowledge of what the conditions are like over here (helped) prepare for that," said Swepson, whose international experience has been limited to just one Twenty20 International, in June this year.
"The week we had in Brisbane and the sessions we have had here, I have been able to prepare, knowing what the conditions will be like and hopefully I can use that as a strength to prepare for the upcoming matches."
However, bowling in India will be completely different from bowling back home, something Swepson knows. "Yeah, I think so. I think you have to adapt wherever you go as the wickets over here aren't going to be the same as what you get in Australia," he said.
"So you do have to prepare differently and I'll take the experience from the three times I have come here and take it to the games coming forward. I have not played a lot of white-ball cricket over here, it has been red-ball cricket for me, but the concepts stay the same. I have played on wickets like this before and the fact that it is white ball or red ball doesn't really matter because you have to play to your strengths and the conditions and you have got to adapt to whatever you are given."
Sri (Sriram) has been of help to me as a spin-bowling consultant and he's always looking at ways I can improve my game technically and tactically
One of the specialist spinners in the squad alongside Ashton Agar, Swepson has been mentored by former India spinner Sridharan Sriram, who was hired by Cricket Australia as spin-bowling consultant.
"Sri has been great. He has been of help to me as a spin-bowling consultant and he's always looking at ways I can improve my game technically and tactically as well – trying to get the balls to hit the stumps and using variations but also sticking to the strengths, which is to try and spin the ball hard which is what I have always tried to do as a leggie," Swepson said.
The 24-year-old is new to international cricket – he made his debut against England, picking up two wickets – but with experience of the Big Bash League behind him, he will push for selection in the longer formats for Australia's upcoming tour to the United Arab Emirates, where they play Pakistan. Thus, this India assignment is crucial, where he will look to add to his tally of 15 List-A wickets, which go along with 23 in T20s and 73 first-class scalps.
"It's a massive series for everyone. The UAE tour is coming up and I think a lot of people will be looking to press a case for that. I certainly will be," Swepson said. "But it has always been the same for me to not look too far ahead and look at the next game and do as best as I can for the team."
"If we get performances as a team, the individual performances will be there and if that happens to be me, that will be great. If not, then I hope I can just do well for the team."