Legendary Australian cricket team opener Justin Langer compared the Indian Premier League (IPL) to the Olympic Games and said that every game in the competition is a spectacle. Langer became the head coach of Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) ahead of the IPL 2024 season as the franchise moved away from the management of Andy Flower and Gautam Gambhir. Langer mentioned his conversations with Ricky Ponting and Tom Moody as the ex-Australia coach got ready for his stint in the IPL.
“Having sat with Ricky for so long and he talked about his time with the Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals. How much he loves the tournament. And Tom Moody, one of my best friends, he’s been so involved in the IPL and just to hear them talking about it,” Langer said on a video uploaded by the LSG.
“The IPL is like the Olympic Games. It is so big. Every game is a spectacle, it is so well received, it is so well supported, not just at the stadiums, all through India and around the world. To have the opportunity to be a part of that is something I am very, very excited about,” he further added.
Langer also heaped praises on his franchise skipper and Indian middle-order batter KL Rahul, calling him a “beautiful, elegant-looking player”.
In a video posted by the LSG’s official X (former Twitter) handle, Langer praised KL and said that he is blessed to have him as a captain.
“When I was an Australian coach and we had a series against India, I never used to relax until Virat Kohli and KL Rahul got out. Because he is (Rahul) so dangerous player and he is such a beautiful elegant looking player,” said Langer.
Langer noted that Rahul is equally good against spin and pace.
“He has experience. He can play to both sides of the ground. He plays spin and quick bowling well. I feel really grateful and I feel blessed to have a captain like KL Rahul. I am excited about that (teaming with KL Rahul),” he added.
KL had a nice 2023 with the bat as he found a new identity for himself as a middle-order wicketkeeper-batter. In 30 matches this year, KL scored 1,203 runs at an average of 57.28, with the best score of 111*. He scored three centuries and seven fifties this year.
ODIs were KL’s strongest format, scoring 1,060 runs in 27 matches and 24 innings at an average of 66.25, with two centuries and seven fifties. His best score was 111*.
KL was not very consistent in three Tests he played, scoring 143 runs across five innings at an average of 28.60, with the best score of 101, a century that he struck in his comeback Test against South Africa in Centurion.
The batter has been associated with LSG since 2022. His season with LSG this year was cut short due to injury and in nine matches he played, he scored 274 runs in nine matches at an average of 34.25, with two half-centuries and a sub-par strike rate of over 113.
His first season with LSG though was great, scoring 616 runs in 15 innings at an average of 51.33 and a strike rate of over 135, with two centuries and four fifties.
KL, who has also played for Sunrisers Hyderabad, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Punjab Kings in the IPL, has scored 4,163 runs at an average of 46.78 and a strike rate of over 134.42, with four centuries and 33 fifties in his career as an IPL player.
(With ANI inputs)
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