Justin Langer's presence in the commentary box proved highly divisive on Saturday night as the Perth Scorchers took on the Brisbane Heat in the BBL final. Langer, who coached the Scorchers from 2012 to 2018, is as proud a West Australian as they come and couldn't hide his delight as the home side triumphed in front of 53,866 fans at Optus Stadium.
But some sections of the cricket world believed Langer's commentary for Channel 7 was too biased in favour of the Scorchers. Channel 7 put together a highlights package of Langer riding every ball of Saturday night's final, including rising to his feet and celebrating when the Scorchers scored the winning runs.
'CAN'T BELIEVE IT': Cricket world in frenzy over 'insane' BBL final
Speaking after the match, Langer expressed his pride in the side he coached for six years before becoming the national team coach. While some on social media defended Langer and said he was simply showing his passion for his state, others felt Channel 7 should have had commentators with a more neutral opinion.
Some accused Langer of being too biased in his comments about the Scorchers, which were labelled 'embarrassing' and 'insufferable' at times. Others simply thought he was being passionate and enjoyed what he brought to the box.
Proud of his team as he should be … reckon he coached 8 of the 12 directly.
— Peter Taliangis (@PeterTaliangis) February 4, 2023
Look at this bloke carrying on. How can you commentate properly when you’re barracking so hard for one team? Embarrassing 🤡
— Yeeeehaw!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (@the_can_can) February 4, 2023
Just saw Justin Langer getting ripped into for his “bias” feels like we’ll needed, been eastern states biased from ball one of tournament
— Jordan Mortimer (@morts23) February 4, 2023
I wish someone would take the microphone off Justin Langer
— 💧Stanley Evans (@EvansStanley) February 4, 2023
God I hope the Brisbane Heat win just because Justin Langer commentary. #BBLFinals
— Dion P C (@Dionclark1C) February 4, 2023
Justin Langer commentating Scorchers a game is insufferable #BBL
— PJ 🇦🇺 (@AngryFan19) February 4, 2023
— Muhammad UMAiR (@merry8989) February 4, 2023
Langer has been commentating for Channel 7 all summer, starting with the Test matches against the West Indies back in November. It made for some awkward scenes as he mingled with the Aussie players who were the driving force behind his exit as national coach last year.
Langer left his role as Australia coach after being offered a six-month contract extension. He saw the offer as a slap in the face after leading Australia to glory in the T20 World Cup and Ashes in 2021.
But the West Australian had fallen out of favour with the playing group due to his intense style. Captain Pat Cummins said on season two of 'The Test': “Players and staff really crave consistency. Over the last couple of years, there were times when the environment just wasn’t that.
“Some people felt like they were walking on eggshells. The players wanted to create their own environment and it’s us taking responsibility for the team.”
Perth Scorchers win fifth BBL title
Langer was overjoyed as the Scorchers stormed home from the brink of defeat to win the BBL final in the last over. The home side needed 39 off the final 19 balls when captain Ashton Turner departed after making 53 off 32 balls.
But unheralded due Cooper Connolly and Nick Hobson got the Scorchers over the line in a final-over thriller. The 19-year-old Connolly made 25 not out off just 11 balls, including 18 off the 18th over.
Hobson (18 not out off seven balls), still needed 10 off the final over - bowled by Michael Neser. He blasted a huge six before carving the ball over backward point for four to send the largest crowd for a cricket game in Western Australia into meltdown.
Connolly became an instant cult hero after the win, with large sections of the Optus Stadium crowd chanting his name during the title-winning celebrations. He later said: "Not many 19-year-olds get to play in front of 50,000 so I'm just here to soak it all in and enjoy the moment. I'm so grateful for the crowd because they helped us get over the line."
When asked if he thought he would ever have to buy a beer again in Perth, he smiled: "Hopefully not in the next couple of days. Maybe eventually, but the next couple of days I don't want to."
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