Legend rips Aussie stars amid Langer hysteria

2 months ago 12
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Former Australian opener Matthew Hayden has launched a spectacular defence of his ex-teammate Justin Langer, pointing the finger at Australia's current roster and Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley.

Hayden and Langer were at the forefront of Australia's dynastic teams throughout the 2000s and the Queenslander once again went in to bat for his old opening partner amid rising speculation surrounding his future as Australia's men's coach.

MORE: Australian captain stumped by big Justin Langer question

In a wide-ranging 24-minute interview on SEN's The Sporting Capital, Hayden pleaded for the Australian camp to persist with Langer for a variety of reasons.

The 49-year-old suggested that the Australian coach had been hard done by due to not having some of his most experienced campaigners on hand on the team's recent losing tours to the West Indies and Bangladesh.

"I put the question to our current CEO [Hockley] who is now also from the Ivory Tower making claims about how the IPL is going to be fantastic preparation for the T20 World Cup," he said.

Hayden launched a stinging defence of his great mate Justin Langer's coaching credentials (Getty)

"He has to be accountable to where he needs to be and where players need to be. When they choose the World Cup squad and seven of those players aren't on the current tour and we're starting to judge Justin Langer on the performance of the team.

"If you haven't got seven assets to your team any organisation crumbles. I've got to say it's really frustrating me."

Hayden also pointed the finger at the current crop of Australian players, seemingly suggesting they hadn't bought into a team-first ethos like their predecessors.

"Leaky voices, the challenging and disrespect, and cherry-picking tournaments and breaking partnership rules and all that stuff, they're all withdrawals from your culture," he said.

"The one thing you have to do in a partnership, it's give and take, but you have to add value.

Hayden questioned the merits of some of Australia's biggest stars picking the IPL over the national team (Getty)

"So, how are you adding value by not buying into the team culture or challenging the team culture? See, I don't understand that. It's not long until you become morally bankrupt, you have to contribute."

"Even this facetious discussion among senior players about deciding Justin Langer's future," he added.

"What about meeting about the fact that you're No.3 in Test cricket, No.3 in the ODI rankings and No.6 in T20 rankings?

"Waste more energy and time thinking about that than actually discussing a bloke who's a legend of the game and also is so passionate about Australian cricket."

Hayden rubbished any concerns over Langer's character and integrity, once again pointing the finger squarely at Hockley, who voiced his support for the embattled coach this week.

Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley was also singled out for some pointed criticism from Hayden (Getty)

"I have to say this 'loose lips sink ships' kind of mentality is really, really frustrating," he said.

"A lot of the content coming out about this is downright disrespectful to a bloke that's played over 100 Test matches, only one in 13 players have done that. I've seen him in the most extreme conditions of all-time and he is unbreakable.

"So, the CEO of Cricket Australia, carefully listen to the fact that this bloke has got character personified and plus, and he is a man who has to leave his wife and four kids to go off to work and listen to some of the rubbish that's getting spoken."

While questions have been raised over Langer's sometimes abrasive personality, Hayden urged him to double down and to channel former Australian skipper Allan Border.

Hayden says Langer must double-down and remain tough if he is to guide Australia to safe waters (Getty)

"I think JL, if anything, needs to get less zen-like and drag people to accountability, not too dissimilar to opposition governments, because I think he's got a fight on his hands with Jolimont Street and how it is that they're controlling their assets," he said.

"If you can't get your best team on the park, how is it that I'm going to judge you? If I was the CEO, how am I going to judge Justin Langer if he hasn't got his best assets? It doesn't make sense.

"If anything, I'd like him to get less zen-like and channel Allan Border. He's only three-foot, but there's not anyone in the world that would challenge AB.

"Leave him alone, let him do his job and for God's sake listen to what he's saying. If you don't listen to him, you're going to have the same result and you're going to have to listen to someone else who's saying basically the same thing until you get the message."

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