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'It was like watching Sachin bat': Justin Langer compares Steve Smith to Sachin Tendulkar

Steve Smith (L), Justin Langer (C), Sachin Tendulkar (R). Photograph:( AFP )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India May 19, 2019, 04.33 PM (IST)

Australian cricket head coach Justin Langer looked impressed with the performance of Steve Smith ahead of the Cricket World Cup 2019, which is scheduled to kick off from May 30. 

Smith, who served a year ban for his involvement in a ball-tampering incident last year, scored an unbeaten 89 and 91 in the warm-up games against New Zealand XI in Brisbane last week. 

"(I) watched Steve Smith batting against New Zealand in those three practice games, he's literally a master of the game, so it's nice to have him back," Langer told reporters in London. 

"He loves batting – he's shadow batting on the sand, he's shadow batting in the shower – I'm not joking," he added. 

Langer was particularly impressed by one of the shots Smith played during his innings. He even said that the shot looked like former Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar's. 

"Last week in Brisbane, [Smith] batted beautifully, he played an unbelievable shot off Nathan Coulter-Nile there - it was like watching Sachin bat. He's in pretty good shape I think," he said. 

Langer spoke about the conditions in England as the games are expected to be high scoring, "In T20, it's absolutely critical and the same in ODI cricket. You're going to have a pretty thick skin to do well in international cricket, particularly on the flatter wickets and the fast outfields and the big squares we play on in England."

"There's a lot of talk about batting now in white-ball cricket, but our bowling is absolutely critical," he added. 

The defending champions Australia, who have won the World Cup four times in the last five editions, will start their campaign against Afghanistan on June 1 at the Bristol County Ground. 

"When everyone says we've got to start playing like England or start playing like New Zealand or start playing like India, no - we'll keep playing like Australia because we've won four of the past five World Cups and that's something to be proud of."

The boys are aware of it and we know if we stick to the Australian way of playing great cricket... history has shown we'll be pretty good," Langer concluded. 

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The defending champions Australia will start their campaign against Afghanistan on June 1 at the Bristol County Ground