Phillip Hughes won't play in Canberra next week. Photo: Robert Prezioso
In-form Australian batsman Phillip Hughes will miss next week's one-day international against the West Indies at Manuka Oval so he can have extra time acclimatising on the subcontinent before next month's Test campaign against India.
The left-hander will play in this week's double-header in Perth on Friday and Sunday, but it is expected he will be pulled out midway through the five-match series to board a flight to India on Thursday week with Test specialists such as Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird and James Pattinson.
It means Hughes will not be available for matches in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne.
The 24-year-old has not played an international match on the subcontinent and team management are keen for the batsman, and other members of the Test squad, to spend as much time as possible adjusting to the unfamiliar conditions.
The move is likely to be viewed favourably by traditionalists who value Test cricket above other forms of the game but it will be a blow to Cricket Australia's marketing for the final phase of the home international summer, which includes the inaugural one-day international in Canberra.
Hughes was arguably Australia's best player in the squared series against Sri Lanka and has stamped himself as a key cog in the top order after scoring two match-winning centuries in his first five matches.
But the 24-year-old has also proved his value to the Test side, averaging nearly 47 this summer after earning a recall in December following 12 months on the outer.
Selectors will finalise their touring party for India later this week and there is a chance they may name as many as 16 players, including a seam and spin-bowling all-rounder, to cover all bases.
That means both Glenn Maxwell and Moises Henriques could be on the plane despite previous speculation only one of the pair would get a seat.
Henriques was wearing his right arm in a sling on Sunday after minor finger surgery on Saturday but NSW medical staff are confident the injury is not serious.
Usman Khawaja, despite being overlooked for the second half of the ODI series against Sri Lanka and upcoming games against the Windies, remains in the box seat to fill the vacancy created by Michael Hussey's abrupt retirement.
The elegant left-hander was on standby for Michael Clarke in Melbourne and Sydney and is set to be a beneficiary of a panel wanting to maintain continuity and stability with their Test selections leading into the Ashes.
He is expected to be challenged for a Test berth by Steve Smith, whose ability to play spin bowling will count in his favour.
The 23-year-old did his chances of a call-up no harm by compiling a vital 72 in the Sheffield Shield game for NSW on a spin-friendly wicket in Blacktown on Friday.
George Bailey is only an outside hope while David Hussey's stocks have plummeted after he failed to dispel notions he was susceptible against quality fast bowling in the series against Sri Lanka.
Steve O'Keefe's eight wickets in the Shield against Western Australia is unlikely to be enough to overtake Xavier Doherty, whose strong form in the international limited-overs arena has him favoured to be Lyon's understudy.
Nor will it convince selectors to take a third specialist spinner despite the subcontinent traditionally being a haven for tweakers.
Michael Beer had been earmarked as the No.2 spinner but a shoulder injury last week is expected to sideline him for six weeks, ruling him out of contention for the tour.