‘I think he would’ve been nervous’: Why Mr Cricket thinks Justin Langer was on edge
The World Cup Trophy could find itself sitting pride of place in any of the 10 competing nation’s pool rooms as the man dubbed ‘Mr Cricket’ believes it’s the most open Cricket World Cup we’ve ever seen.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a firm favourite and Aussie cricket legend and Macquarie Sports Radio commentator Mike Hussey says it’s the host nation’s to lose.
“England have an excellent team, they deserve to be the number 1 team in the world, the brand of one-day cricket they’ve played over the past couple of years has certainly taken the game forward,” Hussey told David ‘Ox’ Schwarz and Matt Granland.
“But let’s hope they have a bit of a wobble with the extra pressure of playing at home,”
With 48 hours remaining until Australia’s opening match against Afghanistan, questions still remain about Australia’s batting line-up, namely who opens, and who misses out?
Hussey says he hopes speculation about the team is purely external.
“There’s still a couple of questions – who opens? Does Khawaja open the batting, or does Warner open the batting?
“Khawaja has been doing the job magnificently of recent time but Warner, obviously he’s a world class player, he comes back into the team and he’s done all of his best work for Australia opening the batting, so that’s going to be a crucial decision,
“If it was up to me I’d go with Warner and Finch at the top of the order,
“Khawaja is versatile, he could bat at no. 3, no worries.”
Close watchers and casual fans alike will all notice a difference in the somewhat chipper mood of the team now compared to the gloomy atmosphere which was inescapable 12 months ago.
Hussey says that’s in part due to an age-old fix: winning.
“I remember commentating during the Australia summer and I think the team had lost 18 out of 21 one-dayers, you’re going to have a quiet dressing room if it’s like that,
“But since then, they’ve slowly managed to turn it around,
“I think back to that tour of India where Australia was 2-nil down and then ended up winning the last 3 games and winning that series in India, which is a big thing,
Australia then flew to the UAE where they clean-swept Pakistan 5-nil in a one-day series, chalking up another convincing series win on foreign soil and solidifying a sense of confidence, a feeling that the team had made it through the muck and could triumph on the other side.
Throw in an unbeaten run in Australia’s world cup warm-up matches and you’ve got a side who believes in itself and has runs on the board.
“I imagine that the preparation has been perfect for the team, they’ve got that momentum going and let’s hope they can take that into the tournament good and proper,” he said.
Casting one’s mind back to when Justin Langer took over as head coach of Australia brings back a complex range of emotions.
Australia were cheaters. International pariahs guilty of bringing the game into disrepute. Our captain and vice-captain, the players responsible for the bulk of our runs, were serving lengthy suspensions. The wheels were all but falling off the Australian cricket team.
As a fellow West Australian, Mr Cricket knows Justin Langer better than most and admits the Australian coach would have been shouldering some anxiety.
“Knowing Justin, he’ll still be nervous now,” Hussey said.
“He’s an intense guy and if things aren’t quite going right he can get a little bit on edge but I think he’ll be pretty happy leading into the tournament, that they’ve been able to turn it around and have that continuity,
“I think he would’ve been nervous about the reintegration of Warner and Smith as well, just to see how it went but it seems like, from the outside, it’s gone quite smoothly and the two guys have settled back in well,
“That’ll be a big relief for Justin,”
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