Justin Langer
Justin Langer (Credits - AFP)

Australia head coach Justin Langer has lavished praise on Team India ahead of this year’s showdown. India are scheduled to tour Australia later this year for a blockbuster four-match Test series. And ahead of the series, Justin Langer has made it clear that Australia have an “enormous” respect for Team India.

When asked specifically about the threat Cheteshwar Pujara will pose for his rejuvenated team, he downplayed the hype of Saurashtra stalwart and said that India’s number three will be threat just like all the other batsmen. Pujara was the standout performer with the bat when India registered a historic series win in 2018-19 series.

While no other batsmen in the series could score more than 350 runs, Pujara scored a staggering 521 runs with the help of three centuries as India beat Australia 2-1 to register their first-ever Test series win on the Australian soil.

“He certainly had a very strong series, that’s for sure. But we have come a long way since that summer and improved as a side across the board. He, like all the batsmen, will pose challenges so we just have to back ourselves and be ready. We have enormous respect for the Indian cricket team and never underestimate any of their players. Like always we will be well prepared and do our best to compete strongly against our respected opponent,” Justin Langer told Sportstar.

India (Credits: BCCI)

Justin Langer further said the Virat Kohli-led team that toured Australia for the 2018-19 Test series was one of the toughest he has ever seen. At the same time, he was quick to point out that Australia are a different side now after the return of Steve Smith and David Warner from their 1-year bans due to their role in a ball-tampering scandal.

“The entire team has grown as a unit including David and Steve. It was a difficult summer 18 months ago against a very impressive side which I still rate as one of the toughest I have seen. We learnt some lessons along the way. I always enjoy seeing the best of the best going against each other and in a series like Australia versus India, there will be many great players who will put on a show. Virat (Kohli) versus Pat Cummins, Steve Smith and David Warner vs Jasprit (Bumrah). It’s a tantalising prospect for any cricket lover,” Justin Langer said.

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