Australia coach Justin Langer says a report claiming there are team rumblings at his leadership within the national set-up are a “wake-up call that he cannot ignore”.
Langer had rebuked the Sydney Morning Herald report’s claims on Friday, saying “they couldn’t be further from the truth” and insisting they were without basis, but speaking to ESPN Cricinfo on Monday he was more contrite and willing to accept that there was truth to it.
The 50-year-old was appointed as Australia coach in May 2018, in the wake of the Sandpaper-gate scandal in South Africa earlier that year, with a view to repairing the side’s reputation but also enhancing performances after a period of inconsistency.
Langer had previously led the WA and Perth Scorchers set-ups for five years as coach, where his intensity became well-known, particularly given his similar style as a player.
The report which came out in the Sydney Morning Herald last week pointed squarely at this intensity, alleging players had grown wary of it and that “some senior players are frustrated at the atmosphere in the team being brought down by the coach’s shifting emotions and what they see as too much micro-management”.
Those issues have reportedly been exacerbated by the Australian squad living within the bubble set-up for the past two months, along with losing to India 2-1 in the Test series.
“I’m not going to ignore this, of course, and absolutely it is a wake-up call,” Langer told ESPN Cricinfo.
“Whenever I finish this coaching career I hope I’m still calling myself a novice coach…I’ll see this criticism as a great gift in a few weeks or months.
“My greatest mentors in life are the people who told me the truth and were toughest on me, and I’ve always needed that honest feedback.
“I might not enjoy it at the time, but it is so, so valuable.”
The Cricket Australia board are due to meet up for the first time since Australia’s Test series loss to India on Friday, with topics of management and leadership expected to be discussed.
Only Australia captain Tim Paine had publicly come out and backed Langer, stating in a column: “He wears his heart on his sleeve, is tough, fair and at times emotional, just as he was as a player and now as a coach. You would be worried if that wasn’t the case.”