Games

When you are at the top, things are on the way down: Langer’s 

Australia will put their best foot forward in the three-match One-day International (ODI) series, claimed Australian coach Justin Langer on Thursday.

India won the four-match Test series 2-1 against Australia to record their first win Down Under in 11 attempts spanning 71 years.

Langer was part of the Ricky Ponting-led side on their tour of India in 2004 when they became the first team from Down Under to win a Test series in India. And the current Australia coach feels that Virat Kohli’s men would be feeling a similar high to what the touring Australians experienced in 2004.

“After losing in 2001, in 2004 when we finally beat India in India at Nagpur, without doubt that was the Everest moment of my cricket career. So, I am sure for most of the Indian players, especially Virat Kohli, it feels the same but when you are at the top, things are on the way down,” Langer warned the visitors.

“They will be very buoyed and excited but we plan to fight for everything. They have a good one-day team and we are up against it. Let’s hope we are better than we were in the Test series,” he added.

Australia coach Justin Langer also added that he has never seen a batsman concentrate as hard as India’s Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara, who starred in their historic 2-1 series win Down Under.

Pujara won the Player of the Series award after scoring 521 runs, including three hundreds, across four Tests.

“…I have never seen a batsman watch the ball as closely as he does, and that includes Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid,” Langer told reporters.

“His concentration was a challenge. And we have to keep getting better just like him, all our batsmen and bowlers.”

Langer said Australia’s bowlers were stretched to the limit in the Test series, especially in Melbourne and Sydney.

“The first innings in Melbourne and Sydney, honestly, sucked the life out of us because when you are in the field for two days, with only one spin bowler, that takes energy out of the group,” he said, ahead of ODI series starting Saturday.

“We have the best spinner and three outstanding pace bowlers, against the outstanding Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli. So it takes some mental and physical energy out.

Australia have made an addition to their squad with batsman Ashton Turner coming in for Mitchell Marsh, who is suffering from gastroenteritis and is not available for the first ODI.

Australia have also recalled off-spinner Nathan Lyon to their ODI squad. Langer said that this is a move keeping the World Cup in mind, but didn’t commit if the hosts would play two spinners in the first match of the series.

“Lyon’s record in white-ball cricket is very good and he is the best spinner in the world,” the head coach said. “So it would be a waste of opportunity if we don’t play him in white-ball cricket, particularly with the World Cup coming up.

“He is nice and fit, and a gun fielder. I cannot wait to see how he goes and he is also excited about it,” he said.

Langer also spoke about Australia’s World Cup preparations, and how they are close to finding the right group of players in a bid to retain their 2015 title this summer.

“In the next few months we will have a group of players together and build towards the World Cup, for which we have a clear idea of who we would like to have but we will have to wait,” he added.

AUTHOR : RITESH RAI

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