Five things I learned as Australia’s coach

28 June 2016
Our voices

As Australia celebrate their tri-series victory, the acting coach reflects on his time in charge of the Australian cricket team and where to from here

About the Writer:

Justin Langer was Australia's caretaker coach for the Caribbean tri-series, the full-time coach of the Western Warriors and Perth Scorchers and a Baggy Green legend with 7,696 Test runs 

I'm a better coach for the experience

I've loved absolutely every minute of my four weeks in charge of the Australian cricket team in the West Indies. I was a little nervous coming into it, but I knew exactly what I had to do and that was to just help Boof (Darren Lehmann) out a bit and keep things ticking over.

Everyone knows how passionate I am about the Baggy Green and Australian cricket and I'm really thankful to the boys for giving me the gift of the team song after our win in the final. That's something I really miss so it was pretty special to be able to sing that again.

Langer's classic cut drills Aussies

I've learned a lot of lessons and from a personal point of view, it's been really valuable for my coaching.

As for the future, who knows? I've certainly got a taste for this job now and I really enjoyed it. But I've said a million times that life is about timing.

Boof is doing an incredible job as coach. That's not even a cliche, that's just a fact. And he's always said being the coach of the Australian cricket team is the best job in the world so I'm not expecting him to give it up anytime soon.

But I'm thankful for the opportunity and if I'm needed to help out in the future, I'll put my hand up.

Mitchell Marsh is going to be a star

We saw in the last few games in the Caribbean just how valuable a player Mitchell Marsh is going to be for this team.

Marsh, Hazlewood dominate with the ball

His bowling spell in the final was absolutely outstanding, and the length he bowled in particular was unbelievable. All of the great fast bowlers, guys like Glenn McGrath and Curtly Ambrose, were so good because they just constantly hit that good length. Mitch is a tall guy and he was able to hit that length all night and to do so in the slow conditions, in the pressure of a final, is extraordinary.

Quick Single: Secret to Marsh's stunning spell

And even his innings batting under pressure at No.5, although he didn't go on with it, just showed how valuable he can be.

Innings could spark Marsh's career: Langer

Mitch is a fantastic young bloke, he's maturing very quickly and he's a really good leader around the group. If he gets some more match-winning performances under his belt, his confidence will grow and he'll be a huge part of Australian cricket for a very long time.

Australia is in safe hands with skipper Steve Smith

I always knew Steve Smith had an unbelievable work ethic and his game has flourished because of that, but what's impressed me the most about him during this series is how unbelievably positive he is out on the field and how he always goes for the wicket-taking option.

A lot of people would have taken Adam Zampa out of the attack after Kieron Pollard hammered him for a few big hits during the final, but Smithy gave Zamps the extra over. And what happened? Zamps got Pollard's wicket and then Smithy bowled him through to the end of his 10 overs.

Quick Single: Langer's blunt message for Wade

Not only does that give a young leggie, who will be a very important player for this team, great encouragement, it just shows a really aggressive and match-winning mindset and I've really enjoyed watching that up close.

Another thing I really like about Steve is he listens. We've had a really good rapport from day one of this tour and he's happy to take advice on board and work collectively rather than trying to figure everything out by himself.

Aussie spin twins spark Windies rout

He's very mature, he leads by example and he's going to be doing that for a long time in this team.

Adam Zampa continues to impress

Speaking of Zampa, that fact that he bounced back from being left out of the side and produced the goods in the final says a lot about him.

Zampa re-lives Australia's terrific comeback

He did some really important things for us in the final, not just with his bowling but his fielding as well. We talked a lot about having really good energy in the field and I think he led the way with that, diving around and showing great intent.

He's definitely a different cat, but it's great to have different personalities in the group. I really like him and I think if he develops the work ethic of a champion and he gains the confidence of someone like Steve Smith, he's another one who'll be very valuable for Australia in the future.

Proteas lose 7-42 in horror collapse

We know leg-spinners can have a huge impact, particularly in one-day and T20 cricket, and there's a lot to like about him.

The mystery of life never ceases to amaze me

It's been quite amazing how things have worked out on this tour.

I was so pleased for Boof that he missed this series because, as it turned out, he was at home for the tragic passing of his father a few weeks ago. It was obviously a really sad time for him and it was important that he was with his family instead of half a world away.

And my own family, as it always is, was my biggest reservation about taking this job too. My Mum has been really sick and I was borderline about whether I should come away for this tour. And I've got four daughters at home and my lovely wife, so it's hard to be away from them. But they know how much I love this team so you have to weigh up all those things.

In any case, I don't have to worry about that right now. I'm looking forward to going back to Perth. I cherish my job at the WACA and love being home with my family. Life is pretty good.

Meg Lanning Steve Smith