Under torrential rainfall, the one stable factor you immediately need is a roof to hide under. The last quarter of cricket hasn’t been the most productive for a visibly jaded Australia. Their tour to South Africa spelled mayhem where results stood and produced a vicious self-harm that none saw coming. Probably not even the erroneous trio- Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft- were aware of the impending disaster emerging as a consequence of their mistake.
With the sheen of experience having been stripped off the house shining on exuberance, Australia seems like a modern construction susceptible to unfriendly bouts of nature. In forthcoming months, the pressure is only going to be enormous as Virat Kohli descends Down Under with his mighty band of Test cricketers. The pressure is obvious, the stakes constantly high and with less than 12 months left for the mega World Cup- a lot is riding on Australia’s mind.
Not a world power anymore?
That, on current strength, they may not be called a powerhouse of world cricket makes no follower of cricket an Einstein equivalent.
And right when a relatively young side- Mitchell Marsh 26, Josh Hazlewood 27, Mitchell Starc 28, Pat Cummins 25, Nathan Lyon 30- seemed in desperate need for first signs of renovation, the appointment of Justin Langer as the coach serves some belief. Even as results will be measured in forthcoming months, it seems, a fresh foundation has been laid to a house willing to undergo reconstruction.
So what difference does Justin Langer bring to the side?
The first sign of confidence in Justin Langer comes from his experience of serving Western Australia and Perth Scorchers. He’s been the in-charge of two dynamic cricketing outfits that are entrenched as much in the domestic circuit as well as in the modern construct of the game (T20).
That under Langer’s watch several of current Australian promises seem to have emerged- Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Ashton agar- gives reason to believe that the experienced former Test batsman is ready for his new role.
Although it must be noted that a national coach’s role is a different job from coaching a domestic side or a T20 outfit. It ought to be mentioned that being attached to the grassroots, overseeing cricketing development from the vantage point paves way for forging young promises into stable figures at the international level.
What possible differences can one note under Justin Langer?
While his predecessor, Darren Lehmann was a fierce albeit impassioned candidate in the coaching position, Langer with his poise and calm brings a different light to the veneer of one of the most under-appreciated roles in any cricketing firmament.
We are, after all speaking of a true Test match character, who’s been as resolute in his approach as a batsman as he has been adaptable to the sharp vicissitudes of the current unit he’s guarding.
For now, the grins on cricketing turf Australia so often broke into under Steve Smith’s belligerent run may be taken over by an air of caution as the onerous period of reconstruction ensues.
What qualities does Justin Langer bring to the current Australian line-up?
One may not see loud grunts of celebration or temperamental bouts emanating from the Australian dug-out. While this may cast a vapid shadow over usual scenes, one hopes for Langer’s calmness to permeate the Australian contingent.
Regardless, Justin Langer will be mindful that his current lot- in absence of modern colossuses in Smith and Warner- has a side that may not be proven match-winners. But he will draw heart from the fact that the available talent pool boasts of solid international experience. The likes of Starc, Hazlewood and, Mitchell Marsh, perhaps the fulcrum of a redeveloping outfit having contested in 166 ODIs collectively.
Moreover, the availability of Tim Paine, who’s been tipped for ODI captaincy in the longer run, having just been announced leader for 5 match ODI tour to England speaks of a cautionary approach by Langer.
It only helps Australia further that they have in a position of authority a true champion of Test cricket. And it is no less gratifying that in Justin Langer there’s a figure who inspires as much for putting the impetus on technical aspects of the game as on model behaviour through right conduct, of which there’s little doubt considering the respect he carries.