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Justin Langer feels coaching Indian team is the “biggest job in the world”

Mumbai : Lucknow Super Giants head coach Justin Langer has ruled himself out of the race to be India’s next head coach, saying, ‘It’s the biggest job in the world’ and he had his fill when he held the same post for Australia’s men’s national cricket team. Earlier this week, the BCCI officially invited applications for the India head coach’s post with May 27 set as the deadline. Former India captain Rahul Dravid, current head coach of India, has informed the BCCI that he will not seek an extension of his tenure.

As per the job description, the new India men’s team head coach would be for all three formats and will be in charge from July 2024 till December 2027. Dravid’s original contract as India’s head coach began after the 2021 Men’s T20 World Cup in November and had come to an end with the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup at home and was extended till this year’s Men’s T20 World Cup.

“It would almost be the biggest job in cricket being the head coach of the Indian cricket team because of the huge volume of cricket, the huge expectation. It would be a great challenge, it would be great fun. It would be a wonderful opportunity to win ICC titles, but with all these things, the timing has gotta be right,” Langer said at the post-match press conference after LSG’s 18-run win over Mumbai Indians on Saturday.

“I did four or so years with the Australian cricket team. It’s all-encompassing. It is exhausting and I think someone else like Rahul Dravid will probably tell you the same thing, Ravi Shastri will tell you the same thing. The pressure on winning for the Indian team is massive. So. I’m sure the next person who gets the job will be really looking forward to the project,” Langer, who coached Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in the IPL this year, said.

In a bittersweet end to their season, Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) displayed in their final match of IPL 2024 the kind of tenacity and skill their captain, KL Rahul, had longed for throughout the campaign. Despite a thrilling victory over the formidable Mumbai Indians (MI), LSG’s playoff dreams were dashed, ending their run with 14 points, the same as the fourth-placed Chennai Super Kings (CSK). However, a net run rate of -0.667 anchored them to the sixth spot.

Reflecting on the season, Rahul expressed a mix of pride and regret. “At the beginning of the season, I really felt that we had a strong team and had most bases covered,” he remarked. However, injuries to key players and inconsistent performances plagued their journey.

“At the beginning of the season, I really felt that we had a strong team and had most bases covered,” Rahul said after the game. “We had a couple of injuries obviously, which happens every season to every team, but those injuries and the guys that went away really dented us a little bit, and we didn’t play well enough collectively,” Rahul said after the match.

“When the bowlers had a good game, the batters wouldn’t have a good game. We just didn’t come together as much as we would have wanted to.”

Justin Langer echoed Rahul’s sentiments, emphasising the challenges they faced. LSG’s strategy to open with Devdutt Padikkal instead of Quinton de Kock in their final game backfired when Padikkal fell for a golden duck. Struggling at 69 for 3 in the tenth over, LSG seemed destined for another disappointing outing. Yet, a scintillating 29-ball 75 from Nicholas Pooran and a late surge from Rahul, who scored 55 off 41, propelled them to a formidable 214.

Renowned for defending totals, LSG initially stumbled but found their stride as the season progressed. Injuries to key bowlers like Mohsin Khan and Mayank Yadav hampered their defense efforts, a trend Langer pinpointed. “We missed Mayank, he was huge. Mohsin had quite a sore back for some matches of the tournament,” Langer said.

Fielding mishaps, however, emerged as the Achilles’ heel. “Dropped catches cost us,” Langer admitted, noting critical moments that shifted the momentum against them. Yet, in their final match, LSG’s fielding was impeccable. Five catches were taken, including stellar grabs by Krunal Pandya and Ravi Bishnoi, snuffing out MI’s star batters Dewald Brevis and Suryakumar Yadav.

Despite MI’s strong start with an 88-run opening stand, LSG’s bowlers rallied to blunt their chase by the 15th over. Naman Dhir’s explosive 28-ball 62 gave MI a glimmer of hope, but LSG held firm, securing a memorable win.

“Today was a really good performance,” Rahul reflected. “This is the kind of game we wanted to play more where batters are scoring, and bowlers are doing their job. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that, so we find ourselves here.”

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