It's a great challenge and occasion: Steve Smith

Steve Smith is the 14th player to lead an Australian team in India and he described the forthcoming four-Test series, the first of which starts next Thursday at Pune on February 23, as a "great occasion and a challenge for his batsmen and bowlers."

Much of his first interaction with the media along with coach Darren Lehmann at the C. K. Nayudu Room, Cricket Club of India, focused on identifying India as a good team in home conditions, on his batsmen's preparation against off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, other spinners, the Indian fast bowling attack and the significance of reverse swing.

Smith's team trained and practised in simulated 'Indian conditions' at the ICC Global Cricket Academy at Dubai for about ten days before arriving here on Monday evening. The team spent a week with former England left arm spinner Monty Panesar at Brisbane and thereafter engaged former India left arm spinner Sridharan Sriram to hone their skills.

Australia's aim will be to improve its record in India which is 12 wins out of 46 matches and 19 losses; 14 ended in draw and the Madras Test of 1986 ended in a tie. As captain of the team, the 27-year-old Sydney-sider managed to turn things around from the 'Pink ball Test' against South Africa after series losses in Sri Lanka (0-3) and against South Africa (1-2); the ebb and flow of fortunes starting from the first Test against Sri Lanka at Pallekele in July 2016. But no bowling combination – at home or away —has been able to stop his big appetite for runs. He has a fantastic average of 60.15 from an exact 100 Test match innings, prolific as he has been at No.3, 4 and 5.

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