The ghost of Justin Langer’s coaching career is set to loom over the Test summer with the former mentor hitting out at delayed feedback from senior players, leaks, and Cricket Australia’s board.
Just a week out from Australia’s first Test against West Indies, Langer claimed those who campaigned against him were cowards and insisted the majority of players supported him.
The former coach also questioned how he did not receive a proper extension beyond the six months offered at the end of last summer, after winning the Twenty20 World Cup and Ashes.
It comes ahead of Langer joining the Seven Network’s commentary team this summer, making for the likelihood of the story being a running theme through the season.
In a lengthy podcast interview, Langer praised former captain Tim Paine’s feedback while lamenting that he believed the likes of current leader Pat Cummins and white-ball skipper Aaron Finch took longer to be direct.
“I spoke to Pat Cummins. He said to me about five times, ‘This might be brutally honest’,” Langer recalled to Code Sports.
“I said, ‘Pat, there is nothing brutal about your feedback. What is brutal is I’m hearing it behind my back through the media or through sources’.
“No one’s telling me. Tell me.
“People say that I’m very intense, but they’re mistaking intensity with honesty.”
Langer said he grew tired of the leaks around his future, adamant it was different to what he was being told by players.
It first became evident that Langer was under pressure to hold onto his job more than 12 months out from his eventual exit, when rumblings began to surface around his intense nature.
“Everyone was being nice to my face but I was reading about this stuff,” Langer said.
“A lot of journalists use the word ‘source’. I would say, change that word to ‘coward’.
“Because what do you mean a source says?
“They’ve either got an axe to grind with someone and they won’t come and say it to your face, or they’re just leaking stuff for their own agenda.”
Langer remains adamant that he acted on feedback from players before last year’s T20 World Cup win, and he should have been rewarded with a proper extension.
In contrast, others claim Langer took a significant back seat through the World Cup in the UAE, and that assistants and players were the driving force.
But Langer said his situation was akin to a player wanting to improve in one format, starring in it, and then being axed because the coaches liked someone else better regardless.
“The hardest thing for me of all of it was: I got the feedback (and) I did something about it,” Langer said.
“We won the T20 World Cup, we won the Ashes. We were No.1 in the world … And I’ve still got sacked.
“You can’t give someone feedback, do something about it, and then that to happen.”