What jilted Khawaja really thinks about Langer

2 months ago 20
PR Distribution

Former Test star Usman Khawaja has cleared up speculation about tension between he and Justin Langer, and backed the coach to stay in charge of the Australian team for the Twenty20 World Cup and Ashes despite rumours of discontent.

Khawaja hasn't played in the Test side since he was dropped during the Ashes in 2019, with Langer at the helm as coach and selector. He played 11 Tests and 22 one-day internationals for Australia under Langer's watch.

There was talk of a split between the pair following a heated exchange during a net session shown during Amazon documentary series The Test. However Khawaja has revealed in a frank video on his YouTube channel that it was those sort of conversations which brought them closer together.

"My relationship with Justin Langer is really good. To be honest I still talk to him, still text to him here and there to this day, and that's because we have a lot of respect for each other," Khawaja said.

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"People think I got dropped because I stood up to him, and all these other things, it's actually quite the opposite. I feel like I actually became closer with him and he actually gained my respect and I gained his respect because we had some really honest and open conversations together.

"I got dropped for the Ashes. There were two people that dropped me; Trevor Hohns and Justin Langer, so it wasn't just JL and look between us two I don't think I should have been dropped, but hey, cricket is a funny game and selection is a part of the game.

"Do I believe I should have been there... in my heart, yes I do believe that, but I don't select the teams, so for me it's water off a duck's back. I've been through the ups and downs, I've been dropped, haven't been dropped, it doesn't bother me anymore."

Khawaja explained that Langer is "a very passionate person" and "driven by winning the right way", even though "his greatest weakness is his emotions".

"But it comes from a very good place. And he knows it," Khawaja said.

"I've chatted to him, he's trying to improve on that."

Australian batsman Usman Khawaja and coach Justin Langer during the first Test against Pakistan in 2018. (Getty)

Khawaja expressed disappointment about Langer's tenure as coach coming into question in recent weeks as player issues have been aired in the media, and defended Langer as the right man to continue to lead the team.

"There is something going on in the Australian team with the players and Justin Langer," Khawaja said.

"I think it's pretty harsh to judge him on the last two series.

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"How do you think JL feels? He probably feels like the guys in the team are stabbing him in the back. And that's what it looks like.

"That's why it's so disappointing. It's actually a really bad look and it's something the group needs to sort out ASAP.

"A lot of these things stem from JL wearing his emotions on his sleeve.

"He deserves the opportunity to coach Australia in the T20 World Cup, he deserves the opportunity to coach Australia in The Ashes," Khawaja added.

"If after all that, things are still not going well... that is when you look at things and think 'OK, maybe do we need to change something'.

"Just like you would with a player, give him as many opportunities as you can.

"It's not always 100 per cent the coach's fault. The guys aren't performing, the players have to take ownership at some stage."

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