Justin Langer has revealed he wasn't interviewed for the second season of 'The Test' by choice, opting to help place the focus more on the players. Langer's departure as Australia coach is a key focus in the new season of the Amazon documentary, set to be aired on Friday.
The former opening batter resigned as head coach of the national team early in 2022 after being offered a six-month contract extension, which he viewed as an insult considering he'd led Australia to glory in the Ashes and T20 World Cup just prior. In the end Langer lost the playing group after concerns were raised about his intense style.
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It was during the first season of 'The Test' that issues with Langer's leadership first came to light. Several heated conversations with players were captured and aired to viewers.
Speaking ahead of the release of season two, Langer has revealed he didn't want to be interviewed. "That was a choice,” Langer told the Sydney Morning Herald. “We discussed it and realised this documentary was a lot more specifically going to be about the players. I thought it was fair. It was a strong feeling this one was going to be more about the players’ perspective.
“I’m very interested to see how it’s presented. I’m hopeful there is respect shown for everyone, not just for me. You go into these docos with a lot of faith in people. I might watch it a bit, just the first episode or so, just to make sure it’s portrayed respectfully and decently.”
Langer admitted he "lost a few players" and "probably the wrong players", but denied claims he isn't on speaking terms with the group anymore. “The truth is, on my kids’ lives, 90 per cent of the players I’m still in touch with,” he said.
“Every time we see each other, we give each other a hug. It’s like I was still the coach. When I saw the players [while commentating this summer], it was no stress. I knew it wouldn’t be. There was this big narrative that we hated each other. It’s just not true.”
Aussie players speak about Justin Langer departure
In a montage in the first episode, shown to players and media on Monday night, Cummins tells viewers that some were on 'tenterhooks' around Langer. He said: “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.”
Usman Khawaja says: “There was plenty of guys who don’t speak up, who don’t talk, and were afraid of JL. That’s the truth.”
Nathan Lyon adds: “I’ve always said you can never criticise someone who is extremely passionate in what they do, and that’s exactly what JL is. Did I struggle with some of the ups and downs? Yeah. Probably the biggest feedback from myself was just emotional levels (from) JL.”
David Warner also declares Cricket Australia's decision to offer Langer a six-month contract a "kick in the face". Warner's comments come after former captain Tim Paine also labelled the short contract "embarrassing", "unprofessional" and "a disgrace" in his autobiography, claiming CA took the easy way out knowing Langer would not accept it.
Nevertheless, Cummins is adamant the decision to move on from Langer should not have come as a shock to fans. He says: "The Ashes, it all came to a head because his contract came up.
"There was nothing out of the blue. We had spoken about a lot of these things over the previous 18 months to two years. He was brilliant when we needed him in those initial years."
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