Australia chief coach Justin Langer can empathise with the Indian team after the 36-run shocker it endured in Adelaide but he is also “glad" that the visitors are “stressed" during the Christmas weekend ahead of the second Test on December 26. Having won the first Test within two and half days by dismissing India for their lowest Test score of 36, Langer said his team would look to drive home the advantage in the absence of Virat Kohli by putting relentless pressure on new skipper Ajinkya Rahane.
What would he have done had he been in India coach Ravi Shastri’s shoes? “None of my business. I have had enough with stresses ….I empathise 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 organised by series broadcasters Sony Network.
He did admit that the absence of Kohli (paternity leave) and Mohammed Shami (wrist fracture) would be an advantage for his team but the focus firmly remains on its own planning.
“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.
While David Warner is out of the second Test, Langer couldn’t say with finality whether the dashing opener will be available for the third Test in Sydney.
“I am very hopeful. ….as I said for the last three weeks or so, he will be doing everything possible to get back out onto the ground, so fingers crossed," he said.
But he does have trouble running?
“He is starting (to get) a bit of trouble running at full speed, when he gets that back and feels confident with it, of course he will come back into our team, so we will just monitor him regularly and fingers crossed that he will be back," Langer said.
Tim Paine’s batting has been a topic of discussion as the Australians judge every keeper-batsman through the Adam Gilchrist prism but the coach has enormous faith in his skipper’s abilities and the leadership qualities he has shown in the past two years.
“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.