England vs Australia: Australia “could have talked more” about taking a knee, Justin Langer says

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Australian coach Justin Langer has admitted his side could have put more thought into taking a knee on their England tour, following criticism from Michael Holding from the West Indies. England and the West Indies adopted the gesture at the start of each of their three tests in July to show their support for the campaign against racial injustice. The exercise was repeated in England’s one-day matches against Ireland, but not in subsequent series against Pakistan and Australia. Holding, an excellent fast bowler in the 1970s and 1980s, accused the English bosses and Australian captain Aaron Finch of making “lame” statements about not taking a knee.

Jofra Archer, England’s fast bowler, said Holding had not “done his research,” with the Barbados-born quickly pushing for the team and officials to commit to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Langer told a conference call on Tuesday that Holding was worth listening to.

“As for taking a knee, to be honest, we could have talked more about it in the run-up to the first game.”

The former Australian opening batsman added: “What we do talk about within the team was that we want a response that is sustained and powerful, and it can go not just in one action, but over a sustained period – not only during the whole period.this series and the (Australian) summer but through time.

“I just hope that if it seemed that there was a lack of respect, it wasn’t our team’s intention. We were very aware of it.”

Langer spoke prior to the third and decided one-day international against England at Old Trafford.

“Fingers crossed” for Smith

Australian star hitter Steve Smith has yet to play after missing the first two games after being hit on the head during practice last Thursday.

Team management has repeatedly stated that Smith is rested purely as a precaution, despite passing two concussion tests.

Langer said Smith was “heading in the right direction” for the decision maker.

“Fingers crossed. We know what a great player he is,” said the coach.

Australia has now squandered the winning positions in all three formats against England in just over a year, starting with a staggering one wicket loss in the third Ashes Test at Headingley.

They ditched the opening game Twenty20 of the current tour and collapsed against 50-over world champions England in the second ODI on Sunday.

But Langer was adamant that Australia had no qualms about ending up against arch-rival England.

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“I don’t think there is any mental vulnerability,” he said. “These things happen. The hardest thing in cricket is to get the winning runs. We were chasing a worn out wicket under the lights. It was a challenge and we couldn’t take the challenge.”

“We have a really good team and show in most of the cricket that we play that we are ready for the fight. I don’t think they (the defeats) are completely connected.”

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