'Our full support': Justin Langer backed amid player unrest saga

Andrew Reid
·4-min read
Australian cricket coach Justin Langer's leadership style has been the subject of unfortunate recent reports. Pic: Getty
Australian cricket coach Justin Langer's leadership style has been the subject of unfortunate recent reports. Pic: Getty

Cricket Australia has thrown its support behind coach Justin Langer amid reports of player unrest over his leadership style.

Former captain Michael Clarke this week hit out at reports that Langer's no-nonsense style had irked some within the national team.

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Australia’s shock series loss to India has reportedly opened up some wounds, and according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, senior players find assistant coach Andrew McDonald more approachable than Langer.

The Sydney Morning Herald cited sources saying that some senior cricketers are annoyed with Langer's micro-management and interactions with the bowlers.

Langer himself hit back at the criticism, saying “leadership isn’t a popularity contest” and disputed suggestions his relationships with players were on the rocks.

Now CA has given the coach its backing, with interim CEO Nick Hockley praising the coach's leadership since his appointment in 2018.

"Some of the commentary that I have seen around JL in the media, I think that is a matter for within the team, for within the squad," Hockley told reporters on Wednesday.

"(What) I will really say is JL's leadership, his passion, he wears his heart on his sleeve, but he's a great leader.

"What he has done for the team culture, what he provides to the organisation more broadly, so not just on the field but off the field, I think he has been very, very clear what he stands for.

"That is ... for the team to make Australians proud.

"And Justin has got our full support.

" ... The team dynamic, that is something for the team, the captain, the coach, to work through."

After Australia's Test series loss to India, there were reports Langer's intense style had been draining on players, which the coach has dismissed as inaccurate.

"We're in a high performance business, we're in a high performance organisation, we are continually reviewing," Hockley said.

" .... We will monitor performance and certainly we will, this last series as with every series, we will look to debrief and see how we can get better."

Pictured here, CA's interim CEO Nick Hockley speaks to reporters.
CA's interim CEO Nick Hockley has thrown his support behind Justin Langer. Pic: Getty

Hockley informed Langer on Tuesday night that CA had postponed next month's scheduled Test tour of South Africa.

"He's extremely disappointed not to be going to South Africa," Hockley said.

"But I think it's now valuing that time to plan the next period and start to think and plan about our Ashes campaign, which is obviously hugely important."

Australia's next scheduled series is a home Ashes campaign against England starting in November.

Langer will remain in Australia while the national T20 squad plays a five-game series in New Zealand starting later this month, with assistant coach Andrew McDonald leading that touring party.

Michael Clarke lashes 'weak' reports

Clarke, Australia's former Test captain, said it was “weak” if players had aired their grievances about Langer to a journalist and not spoken to the coach directly.

“Langer is tough as well, his character is hard. He will want these guys to know that if you are going to be successful at the highest level, every part of what we do is we challenge ourselves and we look to get better,” Clarke said on Big Sports Breakfast.

Australian cricket coach Justin Langer and former captain Michael Clarke are seen having a chat together.
Michael Clarke is not happy about reports of player unrest around coach Justin Langer's leadership style. Pic: Getty

“What comes with that is some people don’t like that because he is very much on that disciplined side of a head coach or as a player.

“For some players that don’t want to go to training and train for four hours, or some people that don’t want to turn up to a team meeting and go through every single player.

“No doubt it is not going to be perfect for everyone. But that’s his style.

“Even if people have beef with that or don’t feel comfortable, go and talk to Lang about it or Painey as captain and try to get the best out of each other.”

“This behind closed doors and going to a journalist, source said is very weak.

“I hope that it hasn’t been the case, I hope it’s just a story creating a headline and a player hasn’t gone behind Lang’s back.

“I think it’s weak you don’t put the players name to it. I hope JL does find out who the player is and confronts him.”

with AAP