Cricket Australia boss fires back at Justin Langer in ugly war of words

Justin Langer is pictured smiling at the MCG.
Cricket Australia have responded to Justin Langer's sensational comments, saying they gave the former coach plenty of opportunities to grow. (Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images for the Australian Cricketers' Association) (Getty Images for the Australian)

Cricket Australia has shot back at Justin Langer's stinging criticism following a dramatic interview in which the former coach took aim at players for not being honest with him about his performance. Langer's remarks left the cricket world stunned, after he labelled anonymous sources who had spoken about his coaching efforts 'cowards'.

In remarks that gained widespread attention, Langer claimed he deserved more than a six-month contract extension earlier in 2022, having guided Australia to a T20 World Cup victory and Ashes series triumph.

NO WAY: Steve Smith at centre of 'extraordinary' incident against England

BRUTAL: Perth BBL cricket star axed after positive drug test furore

In comments first aired on the Back Chat podcast, Langer said rumours of players being unhappy with him were overblown, and that the pressure on his coaching was driven by 'cowards' who boasted an agenda of their own. He also criticised players for not coming to him with their concerns soon enough to save his job.

The drama coincides with concerns of a rift between current and former players over Langer's exit, centred around whether players should have stood by the coach.

Having largely maintained an eight-month silence over Langer's exit, Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley on Wednesday broke that when he claimed he wanted to "correct inaccuracies" in the former coach's comments.

"Regular formal and informal opportunities to provide and receive feedback took place throughout his tenure, which is consistent with a high-performance environment," Hockley said.

"Following a comprehensive process, Justin was offered a short-term contract extension, which he rejected. I am disappointed by Justin's comments unfairly criticising some of our players. The playing group are aware they have my full support."

Langer insisted he was not an angry coach, and that players had misinterpreted his silence and reflection after losses. The 52-year-old praised former Test captain Tim Paine's feedback but claimed others, including Pat Cummins and Aaron Finch, should have been up front earlier.

"I spoke to Pat Cummins. He said to me about five times, 'This might be brutally honest'," Langer recalled.

"I said, 'Pat, there is nothing brutal about your feedback. What is brutal is I'm hearing it behind my back through the media or through sources. No one's telling me. Tell me.

"People say that I'm very intense, but they're mistaking intensity with honesty."

Justin Langer still disappointed by exit as Australia cricket coach

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.

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.

Pat Cummins and Justin Langer are pictured seated beside one another for a team photo opportunity.
Former coach Justin Langer has labelled sources who leaked against him 'cowards', despite Test captain Pat Cummins' attempts to repair relations. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

“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.”

He also claimed there was no mutiny against him beyond a few loud voices, and was adamant he deserved more than a six-month extension after T20 World Cup and Ashes successes.

"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 ... And I've still got sacked.

"You can't give someone feedback, (they) do something about it, and then (for) that to happen."

With AAP

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.