Langer takes aim at Australian cricket ‘cowards’

MELBOURNE (AFP): Former Australia coach Justin Langer Wednesday hit out at the anonymous “cowards” who leaked against him in the lead-up to his resignation, while admitting he should have cultivated a better relationship with the sport’s governing body.

The 52-year-old walked away from his job in February after failing to secure the public support of key players and following acrimonious contract talks with Cricket Australia.

He was unhappy at being offered only a six-month extension despite steering Australia to a 4-0 Ashes victory over England in 2021 and then to Twenty20 World Cup glory the same year.

In the run-up to his departure, disgruntled players complained anonymously to Australian media about his intense “headmaster-like” coaching style, something he still bristles about.

“Everyone was being nice to my face but I was reading about this stuff, and half of it … I could not believe that is what was making the papers,” he told Code Sports.

“A lot of journalists use the word ‘source’. I would say, change that word to ‘coward’. A coward says, not a source.

“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 took the job in 2018 with Australian cricket at its lowest ebb for decades in the wake of a cheating affair, and was credited with restoring pride in the beloved baggy green cap.

But grumblings about his micromanaging began to surface about 12 months out from his eventual sacking.

Langer, who will commentate on TV during the Australian Test summer that starts against the West Indies next week, insisted he listened and improved his ways, but was still forced out.

“The hardest thing for me of all of it was: I got the feedback (and) I did something about it,” he said.

“We won the T20 World Cup, we won the Ashes. We were number one in the world. I’ve never enjoyed coaching more and I’ve still got sacked. That’s the hardest thing.”

Langer said his biggest regret was his lack of relationship with Cricket Australia’s board.

“I talked to the Cricket Australia board three times in four years. That’s craziness. And that’s the only thing I’d do differently,” he said.

“Because when you know people haven’t got your back, there is no lonelier place in the world. When you do know people have got your back, there’s no more powerful place in the world. And that’s what I would have done differently.”