Aussie cricketer's innocuous act that sparked Justin Langer fury

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·Sports Reporter
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Australian men's cricket coach Justin Langer was reportedly furious after substitute fielder Nathan Ellis wore a watch onto the field earlier this year. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)
Australian men's cricket coach Justin Langer was reportedly furious after substitute fielder Nathan Ellis wore a watch onto the field earlier this year. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

Justin Langer's temperament during his tenure as coach of the Australian men's cricket team has come under the microscope in recent weeks - but none of the stories can match that of Nathan Ellis.

The uncapped bowler was brought on as a substitute during a T20 match in Saint Lucia in July.

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Though it wasn't exactly an official debut for Australia, it was nevertheless a proud moment for Ellis - taking a catch in his first over in the green and gold.

Anyone would have thought the coach would have been happy with a young player coming on and enjoying their first moment for Australia - but according to cricket writer Peter Lalor, the reception from Langer was anything but friendly.

On his Cricket, Et Cetera podcast, Lalor described how instead of offering Ellis some congratulations, Langer instead confronted the young player, furious that he'd worn a Casio wristwatch onto the field.

“He went on as a sub and took quite a reasonable catch, and then went off and was feeling pretty chuffed with himself,” Lalor said.

“He saw JL approaching the dugout and thought, ‘Oh here we go, an elephant stamp from the coach.’

“No. Justin was not happy, not happy at all.

“Apparently he made the mistake of wearing his Casio watch on the field, and JL doesn’t believe in jewellery on the field, not even a Casio watch, and gave him a bake for it.”

The story is the latest in a number of stories regarding Langer's overly demanding temperament.

Another memorable example was Langer banning Marnus Labuschagne from bringing a toastie onto the field during the Test series against India last year.

Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley was forced to publicly back Langer's position as coach amid reports his style was causing issues within the team.

Nathan Ellis blindsided by furious Justin Langer tirade

Test captain Tim Paine brought Ellis onto his radio show after the side returned to Australia to discuss the incident.

Paine pointed out that no-one had warned Ellis about Langer's decree about jewellery on the field, making the blow-up all the more mystifying.

“One of the things with JL, he absolutely hates blokes who wear anything jewellery-related onto the cricket field,” Paine said. 

“Poor old Ell’s got no idea about this, no one’s given him the heads up.

“He’s gone out, taken a catch — got an absolute burst for it, didn’t you?”

Nathan Ellis took a hat-trick in his T20 debut for Australia in July. (Photo by Md Manik/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Nathan Ellis took a hat-trick in his T20 debut for Australia in July. (Photo by Md Manik/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Ellis confirmed he had indeed copped it from Langer, adding that it left him feeling like his first moments on field for Australia were an 'anticlimax'.

“Yeah. And I was so stoked too because I got on for one over, first time I’d been on the park for Australia, first time I’d put on the clothes," Ellis replied.

“I was so stoked and got off and got an absolute serve. Bit of an anticlimax.”

Ellis would go on to make his proper debut for Australia memorable for all the right reasons just a few weeks after the spray from Langer.

In the third T20 against the West Indies, Ellis took a hat-trick and has since earned a place as a travelling reserve for the T20 World Cup next month.

The 27-year-old earned the call-up thanks to an impressive campaign for the Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League, in which he took a league-leading 20 wickets in 14 matches.

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