New Australia cricket coach Justin Langer has addressed whether banned trio Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft will be welcomed back once their suspensions are up.
Langer was on Thursday announced as the new man to take charge of the national team, in the wake of Darren Lehmann’s resignation over the ball-tampering saga.
The former Test opener, who served as Western Australia coach for six years and has worked as a national assistant, has been signed on a four-year deal which will see Australia through to the World Cup and next home Ashes series.
His most pressing task will be rebuilding the reputation of an Australian side tarnished by the events in Cape Town which resulted in year-long suspensions for former captain Smith, vice-captain Warner and a nine-month ban for Bancroft.
The 47-year-old admits grave mistakes were made but insists the players deserved a shot at redemption.
“One of the key values for me is learning from the past and respecting the past so we’ll learn from what’s happened,” Langer said on Thursday.
“When I think about Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith, besides Mike Hussey, they love the game more than anyone I know.
“They are cricket tragics and they’re great kids. That’s why it’s such a surprise they made the mistake that they did.
“They’ve made mistakes, we’ve all made mistakes, we can all get better at things.
“Davey Warner’s the same, he’s a really good young bloke. He made a mistake.”
“Has he got areas to get better at? Yep. Has Steve Smith? Yep. Has Cameron Bancroft? Yep. Has every single person in Australian cricket? Yep.
“We’ve all got areas we can get better at, if we can keep mentoring them and helping them and if they want to keep getting better and they want to meet the standards of the Australian cricket team, then of course they’ll be welcomed back.”
Langer will take the reins for next month’s tour of England, and will be tasked with leading the Australian team through one of the most difficult years in recent times,without their suspended trio.
The 47-year-old will also play a role in the cultural review stemming from the ill-fated South African tour, joining new captain Tim Paine and fast bowler Pat Cummins and other former players in assessing player and team behaviour.
“If you’ve got that camaraderie, it’s like the glue that keeps everything together, particularly when you’re under the pressure, he said.
“I would say without being in it, that camaraderie wasn’t as tight as it needed to be because when we were under pressure the glue separated a bit.
“I don’t like to seeing that in a cricket team. I like them to be tight. I like us all to be tight, not just the players but the support staff, cricket Australia.
“It can’t be about the individuals, it has to be about the team and if we promote that elite mateship then we’ll be okay.”
Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland described Langer as a “clear standout” among the candidates to replace Lehmann but confirmed CA did not look beyond Australian coaching ranks.
A veteran of 105 Tests, Langer retired at the end of the 2006-07 Ashes series with 23 centuries and 7,696 runs to his name.