Having crushed the Indians in the 8 wicket Adelaide Test, Australia are now looking to capitalize on Virat Kohli’s absence when he faces India in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. As tourists sail in any way they can to make a strong return, Australian coach Justin Langer said he was “glad” that India was “stressed out” over Christmas weekend ahead of the second game on December 26th.
During a virtual media conference organized by broadcasters Sony Network, Langer admitted that the absence of Kohli (paternity leave) and Mohammed Shami (fractured wrist) would be a plus for his team. However, the focus remains firmly on one’s own planning.
“Obviously, whatever sport you play, if you take out two of your stars, Virat Kohli is a great player of all time, I think and Shami is a real glue to the team because he is so stingy and skilled. It definitely gives us some advantage, “Langer said in the pre-match virtual presser.
Langer also stated that the hosts would try to take advantage in Virat Kohli’s absence, putting relentless pressure on new skipper Ajinkya Rahane.
“We have to start strongly on day one and increase the pressure on Rahane as he is the new captain of India for this series. Hence, the processes do not change. Whenever you take out the best players from any cricket team, it weakens them and that’s reality, “he said.
While David Warner is out of the second run, Langer couldn’t say for sure if the fascinating opening will be available for the third run in Sydney.
“I am very confident. …. like I’ve said for the last three weeks or so, he’ll do whatever he can to get back to the ground, so let’s keep our fingers crossed, “he said.
“He’s starting (to have) a bit of a problem running at full speed, when he picks him up and feels confident, of course, he’ll be back in our team, so we’ll be monitoring him regularly and crossing our fingers he’ll be back,” added Langer.
(With PTI inputs)