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Langer positive after trying winter, hints Finch will get ODI captaincy

by Wisden Staff 15 minute read

Coach Justin Langer is remaining positive after Australia’s winter of discontent.

Defeated in the tri-series final this weekend by an astute Pakistan outfit, Australia finished their six-week winter stint with three wins from 11 internationals, with two of those victories coming against the tournament’s second-string hosts, Zimbabwe.

Beaten and bruised by South Africa in a Test series marred by the now famous ball-tampering scandal, and then by the world’s finest ODI outfit in England, Langer has still extracted the positives, insisting it’s been a learning experience that will benefit his players in the long run.

Justin Langer is looking at ‘the bigger picture’ after a taxing winter

“We have shown throughout this series and in England our lack of experience,” he said. “We’ve certainly seen that in in England and the last two times that we have played Pakistan, who are the number one team in the world. Whilst it looks horrible on the surface to lose, we’re looking at the bigger picture.”

Langer is thrilled with the development of two speedsters, who have enhanced their reputations during Australia’s winter programme. The short and skiddy Jhye Richardson, in particular, was Australia’s most consistent operator, without delivering a real standout performance.

Jhye Richardson is one of the five new faces in the list

Jhye Richardson has impressed Justin Langer this winter

“I was incredibly impressed with the way that Jhye Richardson and Billy Stanlake stood up today,” Langer added. “They are both really young cricketers. Besides Jhye’s last over, he fielded really brilliantly and bowled really well, as has Billy throughout the series.”

Sixes from Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali off the penultimate over by Richardson made a Pakistan victory a formality. “The only way you get experience is by playing and by having some really tough experiences,” Langer said of his young group. “We will be much better for it.”

Could Aaron Finch be given the ODI leadership?

Langer has hinted that Aaron Finch, who has risen to the top of the ICC T20 batting rankings, will take over the captaincy duties in ODIs, leaving Tim Paine to focus on the Test leadership.

“He has done really well this series,” Langer said of his T20 skipper. “I said when I was appointed that after this tour we would have a really close look at everything we are doing, from leadership, which is such an incredibly high priority for Australian cricket, so we’ll look at that. Finchy has certainly put his best foot forward.”

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