Justin Langer is one of the few Australian cricketers who have seen both the highs and lows as far as the team’s fortunes are concerned.
After a stellar career in the dominant teams led by Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting, Langer was the batting coach of the team when it struggled to live up to the past glories.
His journey as coach of the Perth Scorchers in the Champions League T20 has also been pretty disastrous with the team failing to win a single game so far.
But the former left-handed opener believes that the problem with both the Australian national team as well as the Perth outfit is that they are full of youngsters learning the tricks of the trade.
Langer believes they will only get better with the passage of time. He emphasises that stars aren’t born overnight and people need to be patient.
"We were winning consistently (under Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting) as a result of which, the level of expectation was very high. But one has to realise that all of us were around 28-29 and had a fair idea as to what was expected of us. But in the current Australian outfit, we have a lot of youngsters below 25 and there is no magic wand that can help transform them into match-winners overnight. Yes, at times there is talent coming up, but not always. One has to be patient.
"Even in the Perth outfit, we lost some of the senior players due to injury as well as their decision to play for their IPL outfits. So while on one hand we got the opportunity to give around six newcomers a feel of conditions in the sub-continent, the team failed to win too many matches," he said.
Langer, who scored 23 Test centuries, feels another problem is the disinclination among the current crop to go and play county cricket to help strengthen the foundation, and chase the easy money in the IPL.
"I don’t want to get into the debate as to whether or not IPL has a good or bad influence on youngsters, but at our time, we played a lot of county cricket to work on our basics. That is missing nowadays," he felt.
Most of the matches in the CLT20 have been witnessing moderate crowd support and Langer feels that the situation extends to international cricket as well. The former opener feels that the Future Tours Programme should be balanced to avoid such a problem.
"It is a clear case of Law of Diminishing Returns. If there is too much cricket, people simply won’t go to the ground. They don’t have enough money to turn up every time you play. Also, nowadays you can watch more matches on television.
"So, we have to be careful that we don’t saturate it by playing 11 months on the trot," he said.
With Perth Scorchers taking on Mumbai Indians on Wednesday, Langer wants one of his bowlers to do an Eric Hollies to Sachin Tendulkar.
Hollies — an England legspinner — is remembered for bowling Don Bradman out for a duck in his last Test match and Langer wants one of his players to repeat the act on Tendulkar.
"I hope we have a Hollies in our team tomorrow when we bowl to Tendulkar. While I love watching him bat and wish he never gets out, tomorrow I won’t like him to score too many runs," Langer said.
BRADMAN'S FINAL INNINGS
He feels that Wednesday’s match would be one last opportunity for his boys to learn from playing in the toughest conditions in the world.
"I would like my boys to take up the challenge of playing against superstars. This is an inexperienced side and they will learn a lot from this trip. I feel playing against Indians in India is the toughest thing to do and tomorrow I hope they learn from that," Langer signed off.