Australia will learn from mistakes, says new coach Langer
LONDON (AP) — Australia coach Justin Langer wants his country to be No. 1 when he takes charge for the first time in a one-day series against top-ranked England.
That’s No. 1 in learning from mistakes.
Langer was appointed as Darren Lehmann’s successor in May, following a ball-tampering scandal that also saw Australia lose its captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner to year-long bans.
“South Africa was a really hard time for Australian cricket individually and collectively,” Langer said at a news conference on Wednesday. “One of the things we always talk about is learning from the past and being No. 1 learners. So as long as we learn from what happened and move forward, that’s all we can do.”
“The boys made a mistake and they’ve got a lot learning to do, we all have, as long as we get better for it we’ll be okay.”
Ahead of the first ODI on June 13, the repercussions are still being felt after Cameron Bancroft was caught illegally altering the condition of the ball during the third test match of Australia’s tour of South Africa in March.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland announced earlier Wednesday that he will step down from his position at some point within the next 12 months, though Langer rejected suggestions that the departure was directly linked to the scandal.
Cheating isn’t the only accusation that was leveled at Australia under Lehmann, who chose to step down having been cleared of any involvement with ball-tampering.
There were complaints from England about Australia’s on-field etiquette during the 2017-18 Ashes, while physical fights appeared close to breaking out on multiple occasions during the tour of South Africa, with both teams at fault.
The new coach, a former Australia batsman, has promised to put an end to that era — and to help him he’ll be importing the Langer family rules.
“If I play Uno (card game) with my daughter there’s lots of banter,” Langer said. “We sort of sledge each other but we don’t abuse each other, and if I play golf with my mum and dad we sort of sledge each other.
“Everyone talks about this word ‘sledging’ but there’s a difference between banter and abuse, and abuse is no good.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re off the field, on the field, there’s no room for abuse anywhere, there’s plenty of room for banter or what we call sledging, it’s a fun part of the game.”
Australia also has a new captain.
Tim Paine was called in to skipper for the fourth test in South Africa and will now lead the one-day side in England for the five-match series.
As well as the loss of leadership, Australia’s batting is hugely dented by the absence of Smith and Warner, while experienced pace bowlers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins are also missing the tour through injury.
Batsman D’Arcy Short is in line to make his ODI debut at the Oval, while Kane Richardson and Billy Stanlake - who has made just two previous appearances - are expected to take on new ball duties.
“We know the task ahead of us is enormous,” Paine said. “It’s a great test. We’re going to know where we’re at, but we don’t see any reason why we can’t win this series.”