Ashes defeat good for world cricket: Langer

Published: Wednesday, May 31, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Australian opening batsman Justin Langer says losing the Ashes to England was good for world cricket.

"We were successful for so long. But for us to lose to England showed other countries that the competition was still on," he told the BBC's Five Live Sport.

"I think losing the Ashes was great for world cricket, English cricket and, to a degree, Australian cricket."

Langer, 35, said the Ashes is Australia's top sports event, as important as the football World Cup is to English fans.

Australian cricket officials say the demand for tickets to the return series starting in Australia in November is unprecedented.

"This is going to be a huge summer, undoubtedly the biggest summer that Australian cricket has ever seen," said Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland.

Langer, who has hinted he may retire after the series, said the Australians were itching to regain the trophy which they lost last September for the first time in 18 years.

"Most of the core of the team who lost last time will be together and will be doing everything we can to be ready and to give England as hard a time as possible, as hard as England gave us last summer," he said.

"Since the day we returned from England there was a lot of soul-searching. It hurt losing the Ashes.

"We are taking the Ashes seriously. It's going to be a massive event, as big as the football World Cup is in your part of the world, and I'd love to be a part of it," Langer said.

"People are saying England have stuttered a little, but they have got players like Freddie Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Strauss, Marcus Trescothick and a very good bowling attack.

"They are going to be very tough to beat."

Tickets go on sale to Australian supporters on Thursday, and on general sale from June 19.

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