Langer was asked to tone down volatility multiple times

Justin Langer’s tenure as Australian men’s head coach ended after he was handed feedback from two separate independent reviews and multiple additional requests to tone down his volatility, stretching across virtually his entire four-year reign.

In an interview published by News Corp on Wednesday morning, Langer claimed he had been left blindsided, thinking he was doing all the right things as coach, before stories began emerging about how the team was being worn out by his mood swings and volatility.

Pat Cummins and Justin Langer before the toss on Boxing Day, 2021.Credit:Getty

After the second of the two formal reviews, conducted by the leadership expert Tim Ford, and then a difficult tour of the West Indies and Bangladesh in the winter of 2021, Langer was fronted by then captains Tim Paine, Aaron Finch and deputy Pat Cummins.

“The hardest thing for me of all of it was: I got the feedback [and] I did something about it,” Langer said. “We won the T20 World Cup, we won the Ashes. We were No. 1 in the world. I’ve never enjoyed coaching more and I’ve still got sacked. That’s the hardest thing.

“Because you can’t give someone feedback, do something about it, and then that to happen.”

But there had been evidence of change being required as early as 2018, Langer’s first year in charge. It was captured on the Amazon documentary, The Test, as Langer struggling to accept feedback delivered by Paine and Usman Khawaja about how the team was “walking on eggshells” around him.

In early 2019, a process to “reintegrate” Steve Smith and David Warner after their Newlands bans, led by Ford, effectively became a de facto review of the team environment and the volatility of Langer, who is seen in the documentary saying 2019 would be his year of “letting go”.

Paine has subsequently related in his autobiography that there were more questions raised about Langer and his then assistants after the team was heavily criticised by their coaches on the day after the 2019 Ashes series ended in a 2-2 draw following defeat at the Oval.

“JL was cranky the day after the Test,” Paine wrote in The Price Paid. “We were told to be in the team room at 11am and we all turned up in our casual clothes because we’d been on tour for months and we just wanted to go and have a beer as a group before heading our separate ways.

“We thought it was going to be a quick debrief about flights and checking out of the hotel but nah, the first thing that happened was we were kept waiting for 45 minutes while the staff finished their meeting and we were pretty cranky about that and then they came in and told us what we didn’t do well in that game.

“There is a time and place for that, but it wasn’t then. It should have been a focus on the positives, about the strides we’d made, that no one thought we were any good and yet we did what other teams hadn’t achieved, but they wanted to focus on the negatives.”

CA’s high-performance department, led by Pat Howard when Langer took over, followed by interim Belinda Clark and then incumbent Ben Oliver, conducts reviews of players and staff at regular intervals.

Another of those reviews took place after the 2020-21 home Test series defeat to India, again presenting feedback to Langer that he needed to change his ways around the team. Paine has related how, after he had addressed the team to keep the result in perspective against the backdrop of COVID-19 and tight biosecurity bubbles, he was confronted by an angry Langer.

Ford’s second review was conducted before the West Indies and Bangladesh tours, but unrest was so strong that CA’s chief executive Nick Hockley and then chair Earl Eddings were forced to call an emergency meeting with Paine, Finch and Cummins when the team returned to Australia.

As a result of those meetings, Langer sat in the background for subsequent World Cup and Ashes campaigns, handing responsibility to the team captains and assistant coaches Andrew McDonald and Michael Di Venuto. In February this year, he resigned after declining the offer of a six-month contract extension.

Langer, a West Coast Eagles board director, also lashed out at reporting of the issues within the team during his time as coach.

“Everyone was being nice to my face but I was reading about this stuff and half of it, I swear to God and on my kids’ lives, I could not believe that is what was making the papers,” Langer said in the News Corp interview, with former West Coast premiership player Will Schofield. “A lot of journalists use the word ‘source’. I would say, change that word to ‘coward’.

“A coward says, not a source. Because what do you mean a source says? They’ve either got an axe to grind with someone and they won’t come and say it to your face, or they’re just leaking stuff for their own agenda. I hate that.”

Cricket Australia has been contacted for comment.

News, results and expert analysis from the weekend of sport sent every Monday. Sign up for our Sport newsletter.

Most Viewed in Sport

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article