Former Australia coach Justin Langer has taken aim at anonymous sources leaking against him in the lead-up to his sacking, labelling those responsible 'cowards' in extraordinary comments. Langer resigned as coach in February after it emerged players were not willing to publicly back him for a contract extension, which was due to come up mid-year.
Offered only a short-term extension from Cricket Australia in order to defend Australia's T20 World Cup title, Langer instead opted to walk away from the job entirely. Rumours had swirled regarding the players' relationship with Langer, who was deemed to be something of a taskmaster throughout his tenure in the job.
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His exit was a bitter blow, given Langer had guided Australia to an Ashes series win, the aforementioned T20 World Cup triumph, as well as securing the No.1 Test ranking. He was succeeded by former Test star Andrew McDonald.
In an interview with Newscorp outlet Code Sports, Langer said he had been left deeply hurt by hearing positive feedback face-to-face, only to later read negative headlines about himself based on comments from anonymous sources.
“Everyone was being nice to my face but I was reading about this stuff, and half of it ... I could not believe that is what was making the papers," Langer said.
“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.”
His comments come as Test captain Pat Cummins looks to ease some of the tension in the wide Australian cricket world, given many of Langer's former teammates were left aggrieved by his sudden departure. Cummins reportedly spoke with wicketkeeping great Adam Gilchrist last week.
Explaining that he was baffled as to how his job was at risk despite Australia's strong overall performance last summer, Langer admitted he regretted not cultivating a deeper relationship with Cricket Australia officials.
“But I talked to the Cricket Australia board three times in four years. That’s craziness. And that’s the only thing I’d do differently. Because when you know people haven’t got your back, there is no lonelier place in the world. When you do know people have got your back, there’s no more powerful place in the world. And that’s what I would have done differently.”
Langer lashes out amid criticism of Australia's T20 World Cup fizzler
Australia had a torrid time attempting to defend the T20 World Cup they won under Langer when the tournament came to Australia earlier this month.
A combination of explosive batting from rivals, combined with inconveniently timed washouts in key games, ultimately doomed Australia to drop out of the tournament in the group stage.
Glenn Maxwell has flatly rejected claims the care factor has gone out of Australian cricket, adamant comments he made after the World Cup were misconstrued. Maxwell is one week into a lengthy recovery from a badly broken leg, which threatens to end his dream of a Test comeback in India early next year.
The Victoria allrounder was injured at a 50th birthday party earlier this month, after he slipped on wet astroturf and a friend fell on his left leg. But he saved the most emotion for hitting back at claims Australia's players were not fussed about the Twenty20 World Cup exit.
Asked whether Australia would dwell on the result after their final group game, Maxwell had claimed there was little time for reflection given the tight turnaround into the ODI series against England.
His comments, and subsequent headlines, drew criticism and claims Australia were not passionate enough about their results.
"I'm not saying for one second that we as an Australian team didn't care," Maxwell told a cricket.com.au podcast.
"That's not true. We certainly cared. That was all we cared about at the time, we wanted to win the World Cup. But it was taken out of our hands by (New Zealand's) Finn Allen for four overs at the start, and getting washed out against England (in the group game)."
Maxwell said it was hard to be too upset with the Australian team's performance, given they lost as many games in this year's campaign as in last year's win.
Meanwhile, he said the biggest disappointment of his injury was missing a Sheffield Shield return for Victoria and conceded that a spot on the February Test tour to India was now unlikely.
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