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Justin Langer on talks with players: 'We all got a lot off our chests'

Australia coach says the team needs to get back to the business of winning

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
30-Aug-2021
Justin Langer talks to Ricky Ponting at an Australia practice session  •  Getty Images

Justin Langer talks to Ricky Ponting at an Australia practice session  •  Getty Images

Justin Langer believes he will become a better coach following a multitude of frank one-on-one conversations with players to discuss issues with his style.
Langer came under intense scrutiny a fortnight ago on returning from Australia's disastrous T20I tour of Bangladesh with reports emerging of discontent among the playing group and staff.
It forced Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley to issue a public statement of support before Hockley and CA Chairman Earl Eddings held an emergency zoom meeting with Australia's Test captain Tim Paine, limited-overs captain Aaron Finch, and vice-captain Pat Cummins to discuss the issues.
Langer then held a host of conversations with players while in hotel quarantine in Adelaide to discuss the specifics of the situation individually.
Speaking publicly for the first time since leaving Bangladesh he told the West Australian newspaper that the talks had been worthwhile.
"We all got a lot off our chests," Langer said. "I think we are all in a better place now."
Langer also sought counsel from a number of coaching mentors and friends. "The situation at the moment is very tough, but I am confident that I will become a better coach from it," he said.
One of those who spoke to Langer on multiple occasions was long-time friend and captain Ricky Ponting who said that he was pragmatic in his advice to his long-time ally.
"As I made really clear to Justin when you're in that position in Australian sport, whether you're a high-profile coach or a captain of a national team, if you're not getting the results then you've got to expect the negativity," Ponting told radio station 2GB.
Langer has now turned his attention to the upcoming T20 World Cup and the Ashes, hoping that the team's performances will speak for themselves.
"When you win, everyone is happy and gets on with things but when you are losing, that is when the finger-pointing starts, and people look for excuses," Langer said in the West Australian.
"We have had a rough trot in recent times but we retained the Ashes only a little while ago and were ranked No.1 in Test and T20 cricket not that long ago. Get back to winning and you won't hear about anything else."
The squad is due to depart for the UAE in early October although a number of players will travel ahead of them to rejoin the IPL next month. The preparation for those remaining in Australia remains uncertain with the start of the domestic season set to be disrupted by Covid-19.

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo