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Justin Langer, former Australian opener, served as the national team’s head coach from May 2018 to January 2022. In his four-year stint, Australia won the 2021 Men’s T20 World Cup for the very first time and retained the Ashes in 2019 and in 2021-22.
Langer, who had taken the role of Head Coach over from Darren Lehmann following the infamous “Sandpaper Gate” saga in South Africa, refused an extension of six months to his role. There are rumors that Australian players were not satisfied with his coaching style. What could be the reason behind this?
The Reason behind Justin Langer’s Resignation
It came as a shock when Justin Langer announced his resignation from his role. Ex-cricketers and friends of his were surprised and were disheartened to see him leaving, despite having a fine record.
It is stated that the players had problems with his management style and felt he had frequent emotional outbursts and meltdowns. There was even a heated moment last year in August during the Bangladesh tour where the then Test captain Tim Paine, white-ball leader Aaron Finch, and Pat Cummins had a “robust” emergency meeting on Zoom between them and Cricket Australia (CA).
In his resignation letter written in the email to CEO Nick Hockley, Justin said:
“There has been a great deal of media speculation on my future as the Australian men’s cricket coach over the last 12 months and this has taken an enormous toll on my family. I hope through this time, and throughout my tenure, I have held myself with integrity and dignity,”
“If media reports are correct, several senior players and a couple of support staff don’t support me moving forward, and it is now apparent the CA board, and you Nick, are also keen to see the team move in another direction. I respect that decision.”
Is Pat Cummins Responsible?
Lately, the Aussies’ current Test captain Pat Cummins has been in under an eye. His response to the coach leaving the national side was rather cold and heartless.
“That’s Cricket Australia’s job, it’s not my job,” the skipper said, raising criticism on him.
“There’s been a process, I’ve been part of that, a lot of other players have been part of that. It’s just like when we get evaluated. I’ve got huge respect for JL, I’ve really liked working with him, but it’s not my call.”
The fact that he still spoke respectfully of his coach despite the strong likelihood he didn’t get along with him was a credit to him.
But this was not nicely dealt with former cricketers, including Cummin’s former teammate Mitchell Johnson. Johnson called him “gutless” for not handling Langer’s resignation. The left-arm fast bowler also said that the team has “lost him” as well as the Australian public as well.
However, some believed that JL leaving the Aussies was his pure intention and that Cummins had nothing to do with it, despite such a reaction. One of them was a former captain and a World Cup winner Michael Clarke.
Clarke believed that Pat was trying to honor both JL and CA and felt that the fast-bowler has done it very well and is” trying to look” after them. Clark also thought that Pat Cummins was in a “lose-lose” situation.
Justin Langer’s scorecard
In his four-year stint as head coach since taking over from Darren Lehmann, Langer as coach was outstanding. The W/L ratio was all over +1, showing a positive response in the long run.
|Format||Matches||Win||Lost||Draw/ Tie/ No Result||Win-Loss ratio|
|Overall||127||66||54||7 (5 D, 2 NR)||1.222|
ICC Tournament Record
|ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019||Semi-Finalists|
|ICC World Test Championship 2019-2021||Failed to qualify for the Final|
|ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021||CHAMPIONS|
There is no doubt that the 2021 Men’s ICC T20 World Cup journey is the highest point of his coaching career. Australia never won the shortest format title, coming only close to Runners-up in the 2010 edition.
The other high moments were retaining the Ashes in England in 2019 and at home recently in 2021-’22. But the 2019 Ashes is perhaps the one coming on top. Since 2001, the Aussies failed to retain the Ashes in England. But Justin with the team led by Tim Paine drew the series 2-2 to retain the Ashes.
There was a 5-0 loss in ODIs against England in 2018 and a 4-1 T20I series loss in Bangladesh in 2021. But nothing would come closer than losing a series at home.
Twice the Aussies was defeated by India in their own backyard. The first came in 2018-’19 when Steven Smith and David Warner were banned for that sandpaper scandal. However, the second series loss to India at home was even poor.
India was limping with many of their first-choice players did not play due to injuries as the series progressed. But India, after their first match lost in which they were bowled out for 36, came back strongly in the final three games and won the series 3-1. This includes that Gabba Test match, where AUS had not lost there in 32 years. But the fortress was breached.
In other words, Justin Langer stepping down from his role as Aussie’s head coach disappointed many. Especially given that CA wanted him to carry on until the 2022 T20 World Cup, hosted in Australia.
But Justin’s achievements in these four months, especially when the team was in hot waters during that scandal in South Africa, the former opener did pretty well as a coach in the end.
Andrew McDonald, the team’s senior assistant, was appointed interim coach.