Australian head coach Justin Langer feels the absence of India’s big guns Mohammed Shami and Virat Kohli will given weaken Indian team and give the hosts an advantage. He also added that’s he glad that India are feeling stressed than them over the Christmas weekend for the Boxing Day Test.
India’s ongoing tour of Australia has seen many injuries with key players missing some part of the tour or the other. To add to India’s woes, Mohammed Shami got injured during India’s second innings in the Adelaide Test after being hit by a bouncer and was subsequently was ruled out of the entire series. Virat Kohli will also be missing the last three Tests as he will be back with his family for the birth of his first child. Shami and Kohli’s absence leaves a gaping hole in India’s side.
The visitors are already missing the services of Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma with the latter not taking any part in the series at all. Aussie head coach Justin Langer is happy that it’s India than his team at the receiving end of such issues ahead of the second Test in Melbourne starting December 26.
“None of my business. I have had enough with stresses ….I empathize with the opposition and I know what it feels like. If India are feeling any stress, I am glad they are and not us over the Christmas weekend,” Langer said during a virtual media conference, reported TOI.
He also added that taking out India’s two stars Shami and Kohli weakens the team, leaving the hosts with advantage. Langer also stated that Aussie will try to put the stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane under pressure.
“Of course, whatever sport you play, if you take out two of your stars, Virat Kohli is an all-time great player I think and Shami is a real glue for the team because he is so miserly and skilful. It surely gives us some advantage,” he said.
“We need to start strongly on the first day and build pressure on Rahane as he is the new captain of India for this series. So the processes don’t change. Whenever you take out best players of any cricket team, it weakens them and that’s the reality,” he said.
Tim Paine, after enduring a mediocre 2019 in Tests, was under the pump to improve his batting displays. And he responded brilliantly in the first Test making a crucial 74 in the first innings to help Australia reduce the deficit. Langer, who has been a vocal supporter of Tim Paine’s Test captaincy, asserted that he has faith in his captain and termed him Australia’s most ‘important’ player.
“You think about Adam Gilchrist, I guess, who transformed the game in a sense, and that is why Adam Gilchrist is an all-time great player because he transformed the game. I have got enormous faith in Tim Paine,” Langer said.
“Whether it’s his wicket-keeping, his captaincy, his batting, I have said publicly and privately for almost the last year, he is our most important player, because he is a lead wicket-keeper, his leadership on and off the field is incredible,” he said.
“We saw he can play, how well he batted in first innings under pressure in Adelaide, probably changed the game actually with the run-out of Virat Kohli, so he is a great player, great leader and I literally love having him in our team,” he said.