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Justin Langer hails series win in India as ‘ultimate goal’ for Australian cricket team

Justin Langer, who was appointed the new coach of the Australian cricket team, believes that the Test series in India will be the ‘ultimate’ test for his side which is reeling from the ball-tampering scandal

cricket Updated: May 03, 2018 17:07 IST
Sayan Ghosh
Sayan Ghosh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Justin Langer,Australian cricket team,India vs Australia
Justin Langer said that Australian cricket team’s biggest test will be their Test series in India.(Getty Images)

It is a tough road ahead for the new Australia cricket team head coach Justin Langer. With the team still reeling from the after-effects of the ball-tampering scandal that shook the world of cricket, Langer faces a daunting task of restoring the pride of the baggy green cap.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Langer said that the team needs to earn back the respect from the fans and a Test series win on Indian soil in 2021 will certainly be the ‘ultimate’ goal for the Australian cricket team.

“We’ve got a World Cup, a T20 World Cup, a couple of Ashes (in 2019 and 2021-22) I get nervous when I start thinking about it,” Langer was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

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“There are some big tournaments coming up. But ultimately, if I fast forward it, the Indian Test tour in about three or four years time, to me that’s the ultimate. We will judge ourselves on whether we’re a great cricket team if we beat India in India,” he added.

A Test series win in India is not something that many Australian cricket teams have achieved over the years. After three back-to-back series wins between 1956 and 1969, there was a 35-year period where India dominated proceedings at home.

In 2001, the team came to India at the back of a 15-match unbeaten run and it looked like the curse might finally come to an end. But, the Steve Waugh-led side were unable to conquer the ‘final frontier’ as they were beaten comprehensively in Kolkata and Chennai.

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The curse was finally broken under Ricky Ponting in 2004 as the visitors clinched the four-match series 2-1. Langer, who scored two half centuries while opening the batting, still fondly refers to the series victory as the ‘Mount Everest’ of his career.

“I look back on my career, the Mount Everest moment was 2004 when we finally beat India in India.”

“We’ve got to get better at playing overseas, we become a great team if we win overseas and at home so that will be something for us to aspire to,” he said.

Since that victory, they have travelled to India four times and the hosts have emerged victorious on all occasions. In 2016, they started well with a huge win in Pune but the Steve Smith-led side was unable to continue their momentum as they were defeated 2-1.

READ | Justin Langer confirmed as new Australian cricket team head coach

Thus, a win in India will be a huge achievement for both the Australian cricket team and their new coach Justin Langer. However, there is a more immediate challenge for Langer and his team as they take on India in a four-match Test series at home starting December 6.

India have never won a Test series at Australia but without the services of Steve Smith and David Warner, the hosts are extremely vulnerable this time and Langer’s first assignment will be to safeguard the perfect home record against the Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team.

First Published: May 03, 2018 14:03 IST