Newly appointed coach Justin Langer would only term the current Australian cricket team “great” if they can win a Test series in India in three years time, an encore of the 2004 side of which he was an integral part.
Langer, who took over from Darren Lehman, has plenty on his table but for him the tour of the Indian sub-continent will be an ultimate challenge.
“We’ve got a World Cup, a T20 World Cup, a couple of Ashes (in 2019 and 2021-22) – I get nervous when I start thinking about it. There are some big tournaments coming up,” Langer told mediapersons on Thursday.
“But ultimately, if I fast forward it, the Indian Test tour in about three or four years’ time (2021), to me that’s the ultimate. We will judge ourselves on whether we’re a great cricket team, if we beat India in India,” the former opener declared.
For him, being a part of the Adam Gilchrist-led side that won the 2004 Test series in India 2-1, was like scaling the peak of Mount Everest. Langer believes that a victory in India will be an indelible redemption for the emotionally scarred national team.
“I look back on my career, the Mount Everest moment was 2004, when we finally beat India in India. We’ve got to get better at playing overseas, we become a great team if we win overseas and at home so that will be something for us to aspire to.”
Langer admitted that the absence of ex-captain Steve Smith and his former deputy David Warner, who with rookie Test opener Cameron Bancroft have been suspended for their roles in the recent ball-tampering scandal, will be felt as they host a number of teams including India at home later this year.
“It’s hard to replace their runs and their experience,” Langer said when asked how he planned to cover the loss of the pair who were responsible for 37 per cent of the Test match runs Australia scored since 2014.
“Over the next 11 months, there’s a chance for some guys to take their opportunities … to even make us stronger, and add to the depth. They (Smith and Warner) are like the cream on the top, when it comes to big tournaments. You can build the depth and then you’ve got some great players coming back in, that’s a pretty exciting time.”