Vodafone Test Series v India
Langer reveals emotional toll of coaching spotlight
Australia's head coach opens up about the personal fallout and affect on his family after reports emerged that some in his dressing-room had issues with his coaching style
27 February 2021, 08:48 AM AEST
Justin Langer has highlighted the emotional toll personal criticism has taken on his family and revealed his hurt that issues with his coaching style were brought to light in the media and not to him directly.
Reports in Nine newspapers last month claimed Langer's "shifting emotions" and "micro-management" had worn thin on players during Australia's 1-2 Test series defeat to India.
Speaking on Perth's SportFM's coverage of the Marsh Sheffield Shield game between Western Australia and the SA Redbacks on Friday, Langer laughed off suggestions of a rift with Marnus Labuschagne over a toasted sandwich being brought onto the field during the Gabba Test.
But while Langer also joked that he has been "grumpy and intense since I was 16 years old", he said he had been hurt that he was not told to his face about the discontent and rather learned of it in the weeks after the series-sealing defeat in Brisbane.
"That's the killer. I've talked for years about honest conversations and the worst part about it all for me was it came out two weeks after the Test match," said Langer, who is at home in Perth as his assistant Andrew McDonald fills in for him during Australia's T20 tour of New Zealand.
"If there was such an issue, the players or the assistant coaches would have come and spoken to me.
"I honestly believe that whilst there's areas we can always improve, the only thing that's really changed about me since I've been in this job, since I've been in the Western Australia (coaching job), is we lost a Test match.
"Nothing else has changed.
"I've been hopefully consistent for a really long time."
He said his wife, Sue, had "got really upset" about the recent media coverage, "to the point where she almost said, 'Seriously, what do you want to keep doing it (coaching Australia) for?'"
Being away from his family over Christmas as the Australian squad spent the summer in bio-secure bubbles was a further challenge for both him and his players, Langer pointed out.
The 105-Test former batsman, who turned 50 in November, said however that he has no specific end point in mind for coaching reign.
With a Test tour to South Africa postponed, he identified this year's T20 World Cup in India and then retaining the Ashes on home soil next summer as his two major goals, admitting the latter could be particularly challenging given England play 17 Tests in 2021 while Australia have none scheduled for the winter.
"I might sound like a sook here, but the biggest thing that will wear me down isn't the travel, isn't the game, isn't the three formats, it is just the incredible spotlight you are always under," Langer continued.
"We've felt that the last few weeks.
"A lot of it was pretty rough and that wears down my family as much as anything. I'm meant to be the tough guy, but it hurts.
"No time scale (for how long he wants to remain coach), not at this stage. These things have a way of working themselves out."