Australia head coach Justin Langer laments the slow over-rate against India in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground which cost his team a spot in the final of World Test Championship final.
Four points were docked as Tim Paine’s side fell two overs short of the required rate of 15 overs per hour. The loss of 4 points meant that Australia finished third (69.2 %) behind New Zealand (70 %), who will face India (72 %) in the final at Southampton in June this year.
Langer has said that team’s manager Gavin Dovey was on a leave and so Australia were unaware of the slow over rate in the match. The former Australia opener anticipated the repercussions which turned into a reality few weeks later.
“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,” Langer told SEN.
“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.
“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.”
That’s an attitudinal thing
Cricket Australia’s decision not to tour South Africa due to Covid-19 concerns made the road to WTC final more difficult for the team. However, Langer feels that Australia should take the responsibility for the pivotal MCG breach as over rate was something they had full control on.
“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 added.
According to ICC rules, teams are docked two points and fined 20 per cent of their match fee for every over they are found to be behind the rate and hence the Australians were penalised four points and fined 40 per cent.