MELBOURNE:Shot selection will be the most important aspect in Australia, according to Sachin Tendulkar who has advised his fellow batsmen to be wise with their shot selections if India wished to record a rare series triumph Down Under.
"I guess the shot selection is the most important issue in Australia. Technique is fine but it is more of a mental thing," Tendulkar said on Saturday.
"We have some fine batsmen and once they have settled in and their nerves have calmed, they would be able to cope with it," the former captain said during an interaction with the media at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Tendulkar, for whom this is the fourth tour Down Under, cited an example from his own vast experience.
"When I toured here first in 1991-92 series, I didn't make any adjustment initially. I chose the same weight of bat, the same swing but as the tour went on, I realised I should not attempt a few strokes at least in the initial part of my innings."
There is a lot of speculation about Wasim Jaffer's opening partner for the first Test starting December 26, but although Tendulkar did not divulge any inside information, he claimed it was not a matter of great concern.
"I don't think we have figured it out (openers for the first Test). But as long as the replacement is solid, it shouldn't matter. Anyway, I am not the one to comment on it."
Virender Sehwag, who has been struggling in domestic cricket recently, has been selected on the basis of his strong performances in the 2003-04 tour of Australia and Tendulkar backed him to provide a repeat performance.
"He's (Sehwag) been chosen because he has batted in a certain manner and that's the method he should choose to stick with," Tendulkar said.
India's chances of their first Test series win on Australian soil depend on their bowlers taking 20 wickets in a match and the Mumbaikar said they could hold their own against, what he admitted, was a formidable batting line up of the home team.
"They have a formidable batting line-up. But we have some good performers in our side.
"Zaheer Khan when he toured here in 2003-2004 series, took five wickets in Brisbane. We have Anil Kumble who has taken wickets all around the world."
High profile as the series is, Tendulkar said it was not necessarily bigger than any other tour.
"It would be an important tour if we can pull it off. Beating Australia is the ultimate.
"Beating Australia is obviously the ultimate thing because of the way they have played for so many years, so it makes it a special tour.
"And having come here for the fourth time, it would be a wonderful occasion (if we could win the series)."
Australia's last home series loss was 14 years ago to the West Indies 2-1 and they have been unbeaten in 26 subsequent home series.
"It's an important tour for me but then whenever I represent India, playing against any opponent, be it Bangladesh, Australia or anybody else, becomes important."
India's preparation has been hampered due to a single practice match before the first Test, that too ruined by rain, but Tendulkar said gaps between two series was the bigger requirement.
"There should be no excuses even if you have just one game before the start of a Test series. But if there is a gap between two tours, it helps. You can unwind, catch up with your family, assess the tour gone and plan a certain things for the next," he said.
Even though he is in the twilight of an illustrious career, Tendulkar claimed the thought of retirement had not crossed his mind yet.
"I haven't thought about it (retirement). I am thoroughly enjoying my cricket, cricket is my life and I have been living this dream for 18 years now. For me the priority is the coming series against Australia and I am not looking beyond it."
Injuries that had taken a toll on his body were a thing of the past, he said.
"I feel extremely fit and ready for the battle. I had my share of injuries but I think it is now behind me. My body language is great and I'm ready.
"I've always played the game as I wanted to play. Sometimes because of conditions and bowlers, I need to adapt," he added.