After crushing the Indians in the Adelaide Test by 8 wickets, Australia are now looking to capitalize on the absence of Virat Kohli when they face India in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. While the tourists navigate every possible way to make a strong comeback, Aussie head coach Justin Langer stated that he is ‘glad’ that India are ‘stressed’ during the Christmas weekend ahead of the second match on December 26.
During a virtual media conference organised by broadcasters Sony Network, Langer admitted that the absence of Kohli (paternity leave) and Mohammed Shami (wrist fracture) would be an advantage for his team. However, 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,” Langer said in the pre-match virtual presser.
Langer also stated that the hosts would look to take advantage in the absence of Virat Kohli by putting relentless pressure on new skipper Ajinkya Rahane.
“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.
“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 added.
(With PTI Inputs)