'We got a lot off our chests': Langer resets for big summer
Coach Justin Langer says he has spoken to players about their concerns, seeking to get everyone on the same page before the T20 World Cup
31 August 2021, 08:00 AM AEST
Australia coach Justin Langer has cleared the air with players while seeking to reset focus to the T20 World Cup and Ashes.
Media reports of player unease about Langer hit a crescendo in recent weeks, prompting Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive Nick Hockley to release a public statement backing the coach to oversee the team this summer.
Hockley and CA chairman Earl Eddings then held a call with on-field leaders Tim Paine, Aaron Finch and Pat Cummins.
Langer, who is contracted until mid-2022, has since debriefed with players.
"We all got a lot off our chests," Langer told the West Australian newspaper.
"I think we are all in a better place now.
"The situation at the moment is very tough but I am confident that I will become a better coach from it.
"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.
"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."
It comes a week after Usman Khawaja declared Langer is the right man to coach Australia, lamenting how the under-siege mentor would feel like players "are stabbing him in the back".
Australia's World Cup campaign begins in the UAE on October 23, while several squad members, who have been inactive since the first phase of the IPL, will soon depart for the second phase in the UAE.
It is the second time this year that Langer has sought to address player unease with his coaching style.
Leadership consultant Tim Ford canvassed players' views about Langer and other topics after the 2020-21 summer.
Ford's review was passed onto Langer, who raised the subject as part of a camp on the Gold Coast that preceded this year's T20 tour of the West Indies.
"I left the camp feeling like Superman," Langer said in July.
"I'm not a great coach yet, I'm aspiring to be a great coach.
"I was really honest about that and it was a really, really uplifting two days."
Australia suffered 4-1 T20 series losses in the Caribbean and Bangladesh, with seven players opting to skip the tour.
Cummins remained home with his pregnant fiancée and will also skip the upcoming IPL resumption. Steve Smith cited an elbow injury, but will return to the IPL, as will David Warner, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis.
Kane Richardson, Jhye Richardson and Daniel Sams also missed the Windies and Bangladesh tours.