Justin Langer expects to ‘cop plenty’ from England’s crowd and media during their limited-overs tour in June, and wants the Australians to behave themselves on and off the field.
“Expecting to cop plenty from the crowds and the media, but that’s England,” said Langer in Brisbane as the team put the finishing touches on their preparations for the tour of five ODIs and one T20I. “Even if you’re winning all the time and you’re squeaky clean, you still cop it, so I’d say we’ll cop it just as much as usual, but that’s OK.”
The sense of apprehension is partly because of the circumstances the Australians find themselves in. Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft have all been suspended for their role in the ball-tampering controversy in South Africa. The team has a new look and a new captain – Tim Paine for the ODIs (and Tests) and Aaron Finch for the T20I. And Langer has replaced Darren Lehmann as the head coach.
“It won’t take one tour or one year. It will take one behaviour, one thousand behaviours, one million behaviours to win back respect,” stressed Langer. “If we behave well on and off the field, we will earn some trust and respect back. The Australian public loves the Australian cricket team but there is more to it than just being good cricketers.”
The England tour will be Langer’s first assignment as head coach, where Australia will first play warm-up games against Sussex and Middlesex before facing England in five ODIs, which will be followed by a one-off T20I.
In the absence of Smith and Warner, who were part of the leadership group in the limited-overs sides, Langer wants Australia to work on the values they want to be known for.
“We’ve got to aim to be No. 1 in professionalism in the world, we’ve got to be No.1 in honesty, that’s a really important value, and we’ve got to be No. 1 in humility,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how much money you’ve got, or how many games or how many runs, if you’re not a good bloke, that’s what people remember. So humility is important. Our mateship is really important, sticking together. So they’d be the main values at this stage.
“When I had the first selection meeting the other day and I saw you take those three names out, it’s a bit of a shock to the system, and it’s not even a cliché. But it’s a very good opportunity for some blokes. It’ll be great for us in the future to make sure our depth is strong.”
Langer also added that he wants his No.5 ranked ODI side to follow the ‘Australian style’ of cricket, and not mimic the English style of playing or the New Zealand way of conducting themselves.
“I’m hearing about mimicking England’s style and mimicking New Zealand’s style – we’ve got to mimic Australian style, because we should be so proud of what we’ve achieved in our past,” said Langer. “We’ve got our way of doing things and we shouldn’t shy away from that. Can we get better in one-day cricket? Absolutely, our ranking shows that. We haven’t been great in one day cricket, we’ve just got to play it better.
“For me it’s really clear, you need really good athletes, they’ve got to be able to field well, got to be really fit, because they’ve got to run hard between the wickets, the little basics. We’ve got to take responsibility with the bat, we’ve probably got away from that the last year or so, our ranking suggests that. Ultimately, it’s about what we are doing as a team, not the individuals.”