Australia may have been whitewashed by England on their previous limited-overs tour to Australia in 2018, but that drubbing has only helped them in improving as a team, feels coach Justin Langer.
That was the first instance of an Australian side, being beaten in all five matches of an ODI series against England. The Australian side missed the services of David Warner and Steve Smith, both of whom were banned due to the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, which also saw Justin Langer take over the head coaching duties from Darren Lehmann.
“When we went there two years ago, it felt hugely different. I didn’t know any of the players, the players didn’t know me. The support staff were all getting to know each other,” said Langer. “We’d come through a great crisis which had rattled everyone. There were scars everywhere and we took on the best one-day team in the world at the time.
“It was really hard, because the expectation is that any Australian cricket team is going to win every game and we lost 5-0.”
Langer, however, says the team picked to fly out to England on Sunday is not the same as the one that was dominated by England two years ago. “As tough as it was at the time, two years on I’m glad we went through it,” he said. “It was a really tough tour, but my experience of life is you learn your best lessons when you’re going through the toughest times.
“You hang in there, you become more resilient, you become closer as a group, you find out about each other as a team and as individuals and become a better squad.
“We’ve got two world-class players back in Steve Smith and David Warner, we’ve got some of our fast bowlers back. Quite a few of our best players weren’t playing (in 2018), which always has quite an impact. But we’ve come a long way.”
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Although uncapped players Joshua Philippe, Daniel Sams and Riley Meredith are travelling with the 21-man Australian squad, Langer emphasized that the best XI will be played on the day.
He said, “When it comes to picking our first 11, well still be picking our best 11. That’s how its always worked well in the Australian team. And for some of the younger guys, if they force their way in through some of their performances in the practice games, that’d be great.