When Australia tours India for a four-match series beginning this week, they want to end a string of Test series losses to the subcontinent. Australia last won a Test series in India in 2004–05, and it was just their fourth Test series victory there, so the odds are stacked against them.

Instead of participating in a tour game, the tourists have opted to practice at their facilities on doctored pitches that simulate the spinning conditions seen in India. Suresh Raina, a former Indian batter, has expressed astonishment at the move, which has generated controversy.

“I have participated in exhibition games (before to tests), and they are quite significant. Only by playing on Indian fields would they (Australia) be able to comprehend their talent, Raina said PTI on the sidelines of the Police Families Welfare Society’s Mission Olympics Annual Day Meet.

The southpaw stated, “I am pleased with Jadeja’s return after a lengthy absence.

“Our spinners Axar Patel and R Ashwin are doing nicely. Since Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have been playing well, I predict that we will soon be able to witness a compelling series.

However, Raina said that he would wait to remark more on the players till he had seen how the first few days of the first Test went before doing so. “Let it start now. A Test game should last five days. After seeing the first day and observing the players’ concentration, I will only make a judgment (on performance),” he remarked.

After the enthralling 2017–18 series, the two teams won’t face each other in India again until the four-match Test series. India upset Australia in the first Test, but the hosts went on to win the series 2-1 despite many player altercations, most notably between captains Virat Kohli and Steve Smith. On February 8, the first Test will commence.