The independent voice of cricket


Langer implores batsmen to improve technique after UAE debacle

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

After a 373-run thrashing at the hands of Pakistan in Abu Dhabi and a 1-0 series loss that resulted, Australia head coach Justin Langer called on the batsmen to apply better technique and run-scoring ability.

Australia managed just 145 and 164-9 in their two innings in reply to Pakistan’s 282 and 400-9 declared as batting collapses, which have become a trend of late especially after they lost 10-60 in the first Test in Dubai, came back to haunt their chances.

Langer said Australia had Pakistan “on the ropes” at 77-5 at lunch on day one and that he thought the Abu Dhabi wicket will be “hard to bat on”.

His doubts were confirmed when Mohammad Abbas became only the second Pakistani fast bowler to take 10 wickets in a match since Mohammad Asif’s 11-71 against Sri Lanka in 2006. Abbas’ 10-95 meant that Australia were not given a sniff ever since he reduced them to 20-2 on the first evening.

“We knew there was spin in the wicket … My instincts told me it is going to be hard to bat on and it proved to be this way,” Langer said. “This week, a number of states in Sheffield Shield cricket also have had big batting collapses as well. I have been in the state system and have watched it for a long time and I am actually quite intrigued about [technique].”

On how important the batsmen’s technique is, Langer had an interesting anecdote to share. “Lindsay Stevens, the golfer, I remember having dinner with him. I remember saying it’s all mental, it’s all about the mental aspects of the game,” he recalled.

“But [he] told me, ‘I’d rather have a guy with a good technique who is a bit softer mentally than a guy who’s really mentally tough with a really bad technique.

“If you have got a good technique, you hit most balls in the middle of the fairway and over time you develop some confidence and concentration and get mentally tough. But if you have a bad technique and you’re hitting the ball behind the trees and into the rough, it doesn’t matter how mentally tough you are, you’re not going to be able to hit it into the hole that often.’ I think it’s the same with cricket.”

He continued, “I was born in Australian cricket, where we did a lot of bowling machine work and talked a lot about technique.

“Technique to me is about footwork patterns and playing when it’s full and playing back when it’s back (short). These are just basic things, and if you talk about the great Australian players, they moved their feet like boxers.

“And then from there you have the skill of run-scoring ability. So the technique is really important. I think now there’s a lot of talk that because of white-ball cricket there are a lot of wide stances and you just stand and deliver. Well, that’s okay.

“But even in T20 cricket or one-day cricket, and most certainly in first-class cricket or Test cricket, when the ball starts moving around, if you don’t move your feet then you’re going to come unstuck. I think all of us in Australian cricket will have to work [on that].”

Have Your Say

Become a Wisden member

  • Exclusive offers and competitions
  • Money-can’t-buy experiences
  • Join the Wisden community
  • Sign up for free
Latest magazine

Get the magazine

12 Issues for just £39.99