'Different challenges': New twist emerges over Justin Langer's future

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  • Justin Langer
    Australian cricketer
Seen here, Australian men's cricket coach Justin Langer during a practice session with the Test squad.
Player feedback is set to form part of the process to determine the future of Australian men's cricket coach Justin Langer. Pic: Getty

Justin Langer's future as head coach of the Australian men's cricket team could be determined by feedback from his players according to Cricket Australia (CA).

The coach - whose intense management style has seen his future thrust into the spotlight throughout 2021 - has made it clear he wants to continue in the role when his current contract expires in mid-2022.

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Langer has certainly done his chances no harm after helping to mastermind Australia's unassailable 3-0 lead in the Ashes series, to go with an inaugural T20 World Cup title from earlier in the year.

Despite that golden run for Australia in 2021, Langer's future remains a major talking point, with his situation still far from being resolved.

Langer came under pressure to keep his job in August because of player discontent, with CA chief executive Nick Hockley backing the under-fire mentor amid crisis talks between on-field and off-field leaders.

Test skipper Pat Cummins played a straight bat to the issue after Australia's urn-retaining MCG victory, saying it was the wrong time to speculate.

CA high-performance boss Ben Oliver noted his organisation doesn't have a specific timeline regarding Langer, but reaffirmed the question won't be looked at until this summer's Ashes end.

Part of the decision-making process about Langer's future will centre around feedback from the players, as well as whether the 51-year-old's role should encompass all three formats of Australian cricket, or be split into separate roles.

"We always seek feedback from players and staff. We're about trying to get better," Oliver said.

"That goes for our coaching staff. It goes through our players and everyone.

"So we'll do that as a matter of course after the series is completed.

"And the players' feedback on a range of factors, including how we best support them, will be considered in that process."

Langer has changed his approach in response to direct feedback from players, encouraging them to take ownership of the side while also embracing the help of assistant coaches.

Seen here, Australia head coach Justin Langer speaks to fans during a nets session at the MCG.
Australia head coach Justin Langer's contract with Cricket Australia runs out in mid-2022. Pic: Getty

Australia coaching role could be split into two

Oliver, who worked alongside Langer at domestic level in Perth before replacing Pat Howard in 2019, said the former Test opener has "done a great job".

"He's really embraced the conversations that were had over the winter and he's really evolved," he said.

"The player leaders were able to provide some feedback that was really constructive.

"He's got a greater group of staff around him. They've all done an incredible job creating the conditions for the team to perform as they have."

Australia's Test tour of Pakistan and a limited-overs trip to New Zealand are set to overlap next year, meaning there will effectively be two head coaches operating simultaneously.

Chairman of selectors George Bailey believes there is merit in looking at that model on a permanent basis.

Oliver was non-committal when asked, but highlighted the importance of creating "a team of staff that sit around the players".

"That's worked well for us to date," he said.

"They've been the conversations we've had to date.

"The international cricket schedule is demanding.

"Certainly from a scheduling point of view, it's not our desire to have concurrent tours.

"But the COVID pandemic has created lots of different challenges."

with AAP

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