‘It’s very disappointing’ – Justin Langer laments missing WTC final spot due to slow over rate vs India
Australia's players were fined 40 per cent of their match fee while the team lost four WTC points for their slow over-rate in the MCG Test.
Updated - Mar 9, 2021 11:54 am
Australia head coach Justin Langer has lamented the slow over-rate against India in the Boxing Day Test which cost his team a spot in the final of World Test Championship (WTC) final. The former Australia opener has conceded his side was “really slack” in not keeping track of their over-rate during the game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
Australia’s players were fined 40 per cent of their match fee while the team lost four WTC points for their slow over-rate. The hosts were two overs short of the target over-rate. According to the rules, the teams are penalised 20 percent of their match fees and two World Test Championship points for every over they fail to bowl in the allotted time.
Had those four points not been deducted, Australia’s percentage points would not have gone below New Zealand’s tally of 70 even if they had lost the series against India. They still had an opportunity to improve their tally but their tour of South Africa was postponed on medical grounds. The loss of 4 points and the postponement of the series meant that Australia finished third (69.2 %) behind New Zealand (70 %). Consequently, New Zealand will play against India (72 %) in the WTC final at Southampton in June this year.
‘That’s really slack on our behalf’
Expressing his disappointment over losing the crucial points, Justin Langer had indicated the absence of team manager Gavin Dovey was one of the reasons behind Australia not keeping an eye on the over-rate during the game. Langer revealed that the team realized it only after the game ended and insisted that he and others were really slack in not keeping an eye on the over-rate.
“This might be the silliest thing I’ve ever said, but our manager Gavin Dovey … he’d been away, he’d gone home for Christmas to be with his family. It wasn’t until after the game that we realised our over rate was down. Now, that’s really slack on our behalf. I remember we were in the team room afterwards and I spoke to Painey (skipper Tim Paine) and Dene Hills, our analyst, about it. I was a bit grumpy about it and I thought ‘imagine if this cost us the World Test Championship,” Langer told SEN.
“And I mentioned it to the players afterwards that two overs down could cost us the World Test Championship. And so, we have to get better at that and make sure it doesn’t happen in Sydney and Brisbane. It was relevant at the time and it certainly became incredibly significant over the weekend,” he added.
‘We had that in our control’ – Justin Langer
Cricket Australia’s decision not to tour South Africa made the road to the WTC final more difficult for the team. Justin Langer, however, refused to blame the postponement as the reason behind the team’s failure to make it to the WTC final. The batting legend said that Australia should take the responsibility for the over-rate breach at the MCG.
“How often do you get docked points in Test cricket these days? Rarely,” he said. And we had that in our control, that’s an attitudinal thing. At the time, we probably thought it’s not that big a deal the players get fined but that cost us the World Test Championship (Final) after what had been two really good years for Australian cricket where we were ranked No.1 again.
“It’s very disappointing, but the lesson is the things that we can control, we have to control. And we can’t relax for a second in Test cricket,” Langer said.