Langer's job not safe despite high-level backing

1 month ago 15
PR Distribution

The future of Australian coach Justin Langer remains clouded, despite attempts by Cricket Australia to douse the flames engulfing the national coach.

A statement from CA boss Nick Hockley in support of Langer notably failed to make any mention of his future beyond his current contract, which expires next year.

It also drew ridicule for claiming the side had enjoyed "great success" over the last 18 months in all three formats of the game.

Australia has only played one Test series in that time, a 2-1 loss to an under-strength India last summer.

Langer inherited the job in 2018 with the reputation of the side at an all-time low, following the sandpaper debacle in South Africa. While the reputation of the team has recovered somewhat, his tenure has made headlines for both poor on-field performances and reports of player unrest.

Justin Langer (Getty)

Australia heads into the T20 World Cup later this year having lost five consecutive series in that form of the game, admittedly without a full-strength side on a number of occasions.

More concerning are the leaks against Langer from members of the team, the latest involving a confrontation between Langer and a CA digital staff member in Bangladesh.

That followed a review by leadership consultant Tim Ford following last summer's loss to India, which highlighted shortcomings in Langer's management style. A session with the players on the Gold Coast prior to the recent West Indies tour was described as "confronting".

Former Australian captain Ian Chappell says Langer's intense style means players have probably stopped listening to his message.

"Coaches seem to think they've got to make a lot of speeches, for whatever reason," he told Wide World of Sports.

"If you've got someone who is very, very passionate, they're probably going to make more speeches. It's a waste of time. It doesn't help.

Australian white-ball captain Aaron Finch with coach Justin Langer (Getty)

"I know from my own point of view, if I'm hearing a guy talk a lot, after a while it goes in one ear and out the other."

What's clear is that Langer will remain the story for as long he's in the job, an unwelcome distraction as Australia prepares to defend the Ashes this summer.

On current form Australia should defeat England comfortably, unless the situation around the coaching position provides a significant distraction.

"This has been going on for a while, and I think it's probably surfaced one too many times for it to be quelled as easily as it has in the past," former Australian cricketer Dirk Nannes told the ABC.

"I think the players are slowly getting their thoughts heard and they're becoming a little bit louder.

"I don't feel that it's been a particularly happy dressing room for a while."

Australia coach Justin Langer. (Cricket Australia via Getty Imag)

Nannes added that it was increasingly clear Langer no longer has the support of the team.

"These guys have got professional careers that are only short-term, and they don't want to have to go through that career with someone that is detrimental to their performance in any way," he said.

Nannes tipped his former Sydney Thunder teammate, and current Australian assistant coach, Andrew McDonald, as the man to take over from Langer if a change is made.

"He's somebody who's incredibly measured. He's a terrific communicator, well prepared. And really someone who's perfect for that role," Nannes said.

Andrew McDonald is the only realistic contender to replace Justin Langer, according to Dirk Nannes. (Getty)

"I think that he's done enough work now, both within Australia and overseas to have the experience to do it."

McDonald, an all-rounder who played four Tests in 2009, has coached Victoria, Melbourne Renegades, Leicestershire and Rajasthan Royals.

"The players love him, they loved playing against him, they love having him as coach now," Nannes added.

"I think Australian cricket would be the poorer for not elevating him if the case comes about that the national coaching position becomes available."

Speaking at the naming of the Australian squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup, selection boss George Bailey said he "doesn't think" Langer has lost the dressing room.

"Regardless of everything that may have been said and written, the amount of respect that JL has, both for what he's done and what he's continuing to try and do with this team is huge," Bailey said.

For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!

Read Entire Article