Michael Clarke lashes out over 'weak' Justin Langer controversy

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Justin Langer and Michael Clarke, pictured here at the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019.
Justin Langer talks with Michael Clarke at the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019. (Photo by Stu Forster-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Michael Clarke has defended under-fire Australia coach Justin Langer following reports his leadership style has irked some within the national team.

Reports emerged on Saturday that senior cricketers in the Australian camp were frustrated with Langer's style.

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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 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 on Monday.

“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.”

Clarke, a former Test captain, said it was “weak” if players had aired their grievances to a journalist.

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

“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.”

Justin Langer, pictured here speaking to Will Pucovski and David Warner.
Justin Langer speaks to Will Pucovski and David Warner during an Australian nets session. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Justin Langer hits back at ugly rumours

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

“If players just want someone to tickle their stomachs all the time then I'm not doing my job,” Langer told the Herald.

“It's actually the opposite of what happens. I never talk about statistics to the bowlers, ever.

“I don’t go to any of the bowlers’ meetings. That’s what the bowlers’ coach is meant to be doing.”

Langer defended his high standards for the team, which included him reportedly scolding a player during the fourth Test in Brisbane for repeatedly stuffing toasted sandwiches in their pockets.

“You’re walking on against India, we’re trying to win a Test match and one of our players walks on with a toasted sandwich in his hand,” Langer said.

“I spoke to (the player) about it at length yesterday. I said, ‘How do you reckon it looks, mate?’ Is that not something I should say?”

Additional reporting by Chris Young

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