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Shirin Sadikot in Ranchi

India is our Mount Everest: Langer

Scorchers coach glad for his young troops to get their first taste of the subcontinent

At their full strength the Perth Scorchers would have been one of the strongest contenders in CLT20 2013. With the likes of Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Pat Cummins and the champion that is Michael Hussey, the West Australian team could have scorched best of opponents on the field.

However, losing all these main players meant the Simon Katich-led side has fallen off the radar for the knockout stage with two losses and a rain-marred game. Their coach, Justin Langer, although gutted with the results, was highly positive about his young team’s experience in India when he addressed the media ahead of their last game in the tournament, against the Mumbai Indians.

“In terms of results it has been very disappointing,” Langer said. “We lost the first game to rain and we played poorly in the next two games. That said, we came here with a very young side. We had six of our marquee players out of the tournament and we had six guys making their debut.

“We missed Shaun and Mitchell Marsh and Pat Cummins due to injuries and the likes of Nathan Coulter-Nile and Michael Hussey to their respective IPL teams. It’s not easy when you’re without your main players. But that’s the regulation and we are not going to make excuses. The injuries and the system of the IPL is something that we have to deal with.

“In the long run, however, the bigger picture looks incredible. We’ve seen some of our natural talents and how hard they work on their game. If they keep working that way and gain some experience, going forward there will be some very positive things coming out for us,” Langer said.
The former Australian batsman said that the biggest positive to come out of this tournament was that the younger guys in the team got the first taste of the cricketing “Mount Everest” that is playing in India.

“This has been an awesome experience for some of our younger guys. For an Australian, playing cricket in India is the toughest thing you can do. It’s like our Mount Everest. Even for experienced campaigners this is a tough place to come and play. We’ll take this as a base and hopefully, come as a much improved side next year,” the coach said.

The Scorchers will bow out of CLT20 2013 after their match against MI, at Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium. And according to Langer, this will be the real taste of India for his boys.

“What we’re expecting in Delhi is pretty much what we expect in India. The wicket will assist spin and will be slow. Playing the likes of Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha on this wicket is going to be a real eye-opener for our young guys.

Talking about his side’s composition for the match, the coach said that they would finally be able to utilize their spin resources to the fullest on the helpful track – something they couldn’t do on the Jaipur wicket.

“Brad Hogg will play; we’d have liked Hoggy to play all matches, but when you lose seniority in the batting order and you have to balance the side, it becomes very difficult.

“Also, the wicket that we played on in Jaipur, was more like an Australian wicket; it hardly spun and the ball skidded away. So, what we thought of as our strength – having four spinning options – ended up working against us. That surprised me a little bit and that’s the reason why someone like an Ashton Agar didn’t bowl as many overs as he’d have liked to. I’m sure he will bowl on the Delhi track,” he said.

For Langer, an important aspect of taking on the Mumbai-based outfit will be the prospect of his young players playing against Sachin Tendulkar. While the former Aussie opener hopes his bowlers can get the better of the Little Master, he can’t help but be in awe of his class and consistent appetite for cricket.

“I love watching Sachin,” Langer gushed. “He’s 40 now and when I watched him bat in the nets for two hours the other day, I thought I could watch him all day! But I hope he doesn’t score too many runs against us.

“It’s going to be really exciting for our kids to play Sachin and also the likes of Pollard and Harbhajan – he’s always been a little trouble-maker for the Aussies and we love to play against him. He’s a nice man, Harbhajan, but he’s always in the contest with the Aussies. So, it will be quite an experience for our kids to play him.”

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