opinion

JUSTIN LANGER: Tanking, even to eliminate Ashes foes England, is not in Australia’s DNA

Justin Langer
The Nightly
Justin Langer says Australia won't tank.
Justin Langer says Australia won't tank. Credit: Supplied

Turn it up.

As Aussies, some may joke about it, even laugh about it behind closed doors, but anyone who seriously suggests Australia might play below their best against Scotland, to ensure England, our greatest cricket rival, misses out by run rate in this ICC World Cup, must have rocks in their heads.

This suggestion is like those who suggest “tanking” is a real thing in this current world.

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Tanking: I simply do not believe it exists, and anyone who points that finger should think carefully before they voice such ignorance.

Equally, any athlete or team who considers such an act, should think even more carefully. But truthfully, I do not believe it happens. If it did, I like all Australians would be shattered.

I can’t think of an athlete or team in Australia who goes out there to lose. It’s not in our DNA, and such a suggestion goes against everything we believe in; as tanking, or taking your foot off the pedal, forms no part of our psyche.

There is a philosophy in business that says, “could we, should we?” These four words extend to all aspects of life; especially if you want to live ethically and feel comfortable looking at yourself in the mirror.

Sure, a team “could” strategically play below par to gain some advantage, but “should” they? No way.

In this case, why would this Australian cricket team mess with success? After the last 12 months, they will fear no other team.

They have just thrashed England, won the World Test Championship, the ICC ODI World Cup and retained the Ashes in England. Australia are on top of their game, and they won’t entertain for a millisecond the ridiculous thought of going slow so another team, even England, misses out on the next stage of the tournament.

At least, they shouldn’t. Experience will tell them they would have absolutely nothing to gain from taking such an approach.

Josh Hazlewood’s comments after his team’s emphatic victory against Namibia were probably taken out of context when he said: “Whether you get close and you just knock it around and drag it out, there’s a few options there.

“Never really been in this position before as a team I don’t think. Whether we have a discussion or not and we just try and play it again like we did tonight — that’ll be up to other people, not me.”

History will remind this great Australian team that everyone in the team should have a say in how they want to go about their business, not “other people.”

Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow of England celebrate victory.
Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow of England celebrate victory. Credit: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

In the same interview Josh said, “to take confidence from winning and winning well, I think that’s almost more important than potentially trying to knock someone else out”.

It sounds to me like this is a much better idea, because while Australia might make some strategic changes to ensure every player is ready to go if required, they will want to continue with their winning ways, win this World Cup, and become one of our great Australian teams.

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