Australia’s players have been placed in the barely tenable position of
being unable to train on the ground at which they are to play a pivotal
Test match from Thursday.

The Vidarbha Cricket Association’s new stadium in Nagpur was completed this year and has only previously hosted a pair of trial games.

practice facilities are not yet ready, meaning the Australians and
Indians have been booked to train at the old VCA ground, which hosted
the 2004 Test between the two nations that saw Australia win by 342
runs to claim the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

So new is the stadium,
in fact, that ICC match referee Chris Broad was required to make an
inspection of the ground on Tuesday morning before signing it off as fit for
international cricket.

In the mad rush of the modern
international calendar it is nothing new for a touring side to see a
one day or Twenty20 venue the day before the match, but as Mike Hussey
pointed out, Tests are a different matter.

“I am someone who
likes to get into the ground as early as possible, get gear set-up and
all that sort of stuff, go out in the middle and have a look around
because there are lots of distractions, every ground is different, so
it’s nice to become accustomed with those before you head out to play,”
Hussey said today.

“We’ve had to do it many times before, you
fly into locations to play one day internationals the day before and
you have to cope.

“Test cricket is played in the head, so if you
do let those things worry you then you will probably be affected but
we’ve got very mentally tough cricketers in the side so I’m sure we’ll
be able to put those things aside and concentrate on what you have to

Australia are still to work out whether or not they will
take untried spinner Jason Krejza into Nagpur after arguably erring by
not choosing him to bowl on a Delhi pitch that provided plenty of
assistance for Indian part-time off spinner Virender Sehwag.

reports of the VCA Stadium surface are that the wicket stands out on a
verdant square as the only pitch with not a blade of grass on it.

been told that it’s a beautiful green, grassy square but there’s one
strip that’s not got a blade of grass on it, that’s just what we’ve
been told from afar,” Hussey said.

“From all reports it’s a
beautiful ground, it should be a great place to play, we’re not sure
about the pitch but a result pitch would be good for us.”

said that Krejza had to be seriously considered despite the obvious
risk of playing a rookie in a match as important as any Test the
Australians have played since the 2005 Ashes loss.

“Jason’s been bowling well in the nets, he’s been working very hard,” Hussey said.

“It would be a huge test for him to come in, but what better way to find out if a guy can sink or swim.”