Australia head coach Justin Langer has expressed his disappointment over the slow-over rate against India in the Boxing Day Test, which ultimately cost the Aussies a spot in the final of the ICC World Test Championship(WTC).
Justin Langer on missing WTC
“There’s no better showcase for some of our players,” Langer told SEN. “They’re playing in the same conditions (as the World Cup). We’ll watch that really closely and see who performs well.“It’s a great opportunity for a lot of players. They get to play a lot of cricket under pressure, that can only benefit them individually and us collectively,” Langer added.
Head coach Justin Langer also said Australia were “really slack” in not maintain their over-rate in the Melbourne Test against India which eventually cost them a place in the World Test Championships final.
Australia were fined four WTC points for being two overs behind in the second Test of the four-match series.
India recently beat England 3-1 in a home Test series to set up a WTC final clash with New Zealand in June and Australia could have qualified in place of the Kiwis if not for that slow over-rate penalty.
“This might be the silliest thing I’ve ever said, but our manager Gavin Dovey had been away, he’d gone home for Christmas to be with his family,” Langer told SEN.
“It wasn’t until after the game that we realised our over rate was down. Now, that’s really slack on our behalf.”
In the WTC standing, New Zealand finished 0.3 percent ahead of Australia, who had decided not to travel to South Africa for a Test series due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I remember we were in the team room afterward and I spoke to Painey (skipper Tim Paine) and Dene Hills, our analyst, about it. I was a bit grumpy about it and I thought ‘imagine if this cost us the World Test Championship’,” Langer said.
“And I mentioned it to the players afterward that two overs down could cost us the World Test Championship. And so, we have to get better at that and make sure it doesn’t happen in Sydney and Brisbane.“It’s very disappointing, but the lesson is the things that we can control, we have to control. And we can’t relax for a second in Test cricket.”
“It was relevant at the time and it certainly became incredibly significant over the weekend.”
Langer is of the view that Australia should be more accountable and take responsibility for the crucial slow-over rate breach at the MCG as it was something that was within their control.
“How often do you get docked points in Test cricket these days? Rarely,” he said.
“And we had that in our control, that’s an attitudinal thing.
“At the time, we probably thought it’s not that big a deal the players get fined but that cost us the World Test Championship (Final) after what had been two really good years for Australian cricket where we were ranked No.1 again.
“It’s very disappointing, but the lesson is the things that we can control, we have to control. And we can’t relax for a second in Test cricket,” Langer added.
The ICC rules state that teams are docked two points and fined 20 percent of their match fee for every over they stay behind the rate. Australia were docked four points and fined 40 percent of their match fee as they were behind by two overs.