EDGBASTON. — Australia, who arrive in Harare today, have gone winless against England after losing their one-off T20 match to make it nine consecutive defeats across all formats, but coach Justin Langer insists: “There’s light at the end of the tunnel”.
Langer was appointed Australia’s head coach amid much upheaval in Australian cricket following the ball tampering fiasco of Cape Town.
Australia lost the last three Tests of that tour, and have now lost all six matches in England following the 28-run defeat at Edgbaston in the one-off T20 clash.
Langer’s next opportunity to chalk a win on the board will come in four days when Australia meet Pakistan, the world’s top-ranked T20 side, in Harare.
Langer’s bowlers have been beaten pillar to post and the batsman have been exposed by spin repeatedly in England, but the coach oozes calm, and preaches patience with a squad that is missing key players.
“I knew it was going to be a big job, knowing where we came from in South Africa,” Langer reflected at Edgbaston.
“There’s been some great learning and some really positive stuff that has come from this trip.
“On the surface it looks like a complete disaster but we have talked about building a team that’s going to be ready for the World Cup and the Ashes and I think we have unlocked a few answers.
“But it hurts when you get beaten, particularly in England.”
Australia’s batting talent has shone through in parts – Shaun Marsh struck two centuries in the ODI series, Aaron Finch hit one, and was brilliant at the top of the order captaining the T20 side with 84 from 41 balls.
But it’s Australia’s bowling stocks that have been hit hardest on this tour. Andrew Tye, a dominant force in T20s, was canned in the 50-over game, and in the T20 the most experienced international bowler in the group, Kane Richardson, was smashed for the second-most expensive figures by an Aussie ever.
Langer has a favourite anecdote about his introduction to Test cricket, when he faced up against the West Indies at the peak of their powers. David Boon famously told him, “Test cricket will never get any tougher”. He’s hoping a similar sentiment will apply for the Aussie quicks from this tour.
“Hopefully it will add some layers to their character and not scars,” Langer said.
“We’ll find out (about their character) and for a lot of them, the facts and the reality are that they are very inexperienced.
“In a perfect world you bring a couple of your best young players into an experienced team, we just haven’t got the luxury of doing that at the moment.
“A few of the boys have walked into the jungle and we’ll see how they go, not only over the next six months, but over the next two or three or 10 years.”
Langer paid tribute to England’s style of play, but said comparisons with the Australia squad that contested this series were irrelevant.
“What I do know is we will learn lessons from how England are playing at the moment but it is hard to compare us because we are at such a different stage of our journey,” Langer said.
“The guys have worked so hard but we’ve been beaten by a very good cricket team.
“It’s a very, very young bowling attack particularly and we haven’t taken any results away and they will feel they haven’t been rewarded for all the hard work they have been doing. “
Qantas tours of the UK and Zimbabwe
Australia T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Travis Head, Nic Maddinson, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Jack Wildermuth
England T20 squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey
Qantas T20I tri-series Tour of Zimbabwe
July 1: Zimbabwe vs Pakistan
July 2: Pakistan vs Australia
July 3: Australia vs Zimbabwe
July 4: Zimbabwe vs Pakistan
July 5: Pakistan vs Australia
July 6: Australia vs Zimbabwe
July 8: Final – cricket.com.au