Justin Langer believes if the Australia players were to react in the same manner Virat Kohli celebrated the wicket of Aaron Finch, they would be considered “the worst blokes in the world”. Langer also fended off criticism from Sachin Tendulkar over Australia’s slow batting in the first innings.
Langer’s comments showed the level of scrutiny that surrounds Australia on two distinct levels: their style of play and their on-field behaviour. Amid all the swirling fallout from the Newlands scandal, the question is hovering: can the Australian team win without resorting to the sort of behaviour that led to a widespread public backlash? When Fox Sports replayed Kohli’s celebration after Ishant Sharma bowled Aaron Finch, Langer’s answer suggested the team is still trying to find the right balance.
“You love seeing that passion in sport, don’t you?” said Langer. “Mind you, I think if we did that at the moment we’d be the worst blokes in the world, but it’s a fine line isn’t it? That’s the truth of it. But I love seeing the passion, I mean that’s great passion but, as I said, there’s a fine line isn’t there?”
In an interview to be broadcast later on Saturday on Fox Sports, Kohli says he had sympathy with Steven Smith and David Warner with what they had to go through after the ball-tampering.
Langer, speaking as rain delayed the start of play on day three, defended his players for their scoring rate and suggested allowances should be made for youth and inexperience.