Though Australia cricket team coach Justin Langer is convinced that his players are “match-ready" and “battle-hardened" ahead of the tough series against India, he feels the players not being able to spend time with their families could have a big impact.
The Australian players have played almost non-stop cricket right from the limited-overs tour of England followed by the Indian Premier League (IPL) over the last two months. They return home from IPL to undergo quarantine at the Sydney Olympic Park following which they immediately enter the long series against India, which includes three ODIs, three T20Is and four Test matches.
“The biggest challenge (for players) will be seeing their families. Because they’ve been to England and now the IPL, and we have to make sure that we keep them mentally healthy and happy and seeing their families will be a big part of that, so we’re hopeful that families will join us at the start of the ODI series when they come out of that quarantine," said Langer while interacting with the media on Friday morning.
Langer said he is not worried about the cricketing aspect even though they haven’t got to meet each other much.
“We’ll meet up with each other the morning of the first ODI, so it is not perfect but we’ll get on with it. We got to have the show on the road. It is not perfect. The coaches coming from IPL will keep the players prepared.
“But one thing I know is that they have been playing so much cricket. You have heard me before say that there’s nothing like match practice and being match-hardened or battle-hardened. They will all certainly be that. I have no concerns about their cricket or being ready for playing cricket," Langer added.
The former Australia opener recalled that the players had a worried look when he showed them the upcoming schedule during the tour of England.
“You guys heard me say that when we sat down with the boys individually in England and showed them the schedule coming up, and what it means with different quarantine restrictions, you could see the blood drying out of their face and that’s for personal and professional reasons. I had a long chat with limited-overs captain (Aaron) Finch last night and it was great," Langer said.
The 49-year-old gave the example of Matthew Wade who had to miss the first two Sheffield Shield games to be with his family.
“In that case if Matthew Wade had gone from England straight to the (Sheffield) Shield games and then straight to white-ball cricket, then to Test cricket, to Big Bash League, then to South Africa, well he would not see his family for six months or so.
“So, we are going to be careful how we manage this. While some people may not agree with this at times, our people, players and staff are high-priority for us and they have to be healthy and happy.
“We are going to manage our players really well throughout this summer."
The tour will commence with the three ODIs at the Sydney Cricket Ground (November 27, 29) and Manuka Oval, Canberra (December 2). That will be followed by the three-match T20I series at Manuka Oval, Canberra (December 4) and the SCG (December 6, 8). The four-Test Border Gavaskar series will begin with the pink-ball game at the Adelaide Oval from December 17, followed by Tests at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (December 26), the Sydney Cricket Ground (January 7) and the Gabba (January 15).