New cracks are emerging between Australian cricket coach Justin Langer and his players, despite the public backing this week from Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley.
- Another media report on Thursday highlighted friction between Justin Langer and players
- Matthew Hayden has passionately defended his former opening partner
- Players are being urged to take responsibility
Yesterday The Australian newspaper reported senior players had met with Cricket Australia executives to discuss the situation around Langer, without their head coach.
The story prompted Langer’s old opening partner Matthew Hayden to highlight the under-performance of Australia’s cricketers in a stinging and passionate defence of his former colleague on radio last night.
“This facetious discussion amongst senior players … about deciding Justin Langer’s future,” he told SEN.
Today an article in the Sydney Morning Herald revealed Langer had negotiated with Amazon in relation to the documentary The Test separately to the players, prompting another point of friction.
Langer, the undoubted star of the program, reportedly received just $40,000, half of what each of the players earned even if they were on screen for just a few seconds.
When the newspaper put the report of a dispute over the arrangement to Langer, he reportedly replied via text message: “You are absolutely correct in what you heard, and if I look back at that moment in time and with hindsight I should have reacted differently.”
Speaking on SEN on Friday morning, Australian Test captain Tim Paine expressed frustration at the recent media coverage, but says the team has now “galvanised” around Langer.
“It was important that myself, Aaron Finch, Pat Cummins and the leaders of Australian cricket got around him, discussed things that needed to be discussed, and then got around him and supported him and looked to move forward,” he said.
Focus shifting to players
Earlier this week, Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley gave Langer his public support for the upcoming summer and highlighted the responsibility that lay with the players.
“Justin has done an incredible job in raising the culture, values and behaviours of the Australian men’s team since he took on the role in 2018,” he wrote in a statement.
“Justin, his coaching staff and the leaders within the team have an equally important part to play in ensuring a successful summer ahead for the Australian cricket team.”
Chief selector George Bailey echoed Hockley’s statement yesterday, saying “let’s not put all of this on Justin”.
Several articles sourced from within the Australian camp have emerged in recent months that undermine Langer’s performance and authority.
Hayden said he has been angered by the saga.
“This loose lips sinks ships kind of mentality is really, really frustrating,” he said.
Australia’s Twenty 20 squad is preparing for the World Cup in the Middle East in October.
The first Test against England begins on December 8.