Test cricket stars have been informed they won’t have to talk to Justin Langer on-air during this summer’s series as the bitter feud between players and the former Australian coach heats up. And that was before his stunning outburst at the current players, who he labelled ‘cowards’ for their role in his ousting from the side. Fortunately for those players, it’s been revealed the broadcaster will not force them to interact with their former coach on-air, according to News Corp.
Langer had been free-to-air broadcaster Channel 7’s prize scalp for the summer Tests against the West Indies and South Africa, setting the stage for some awkward encounters with players he believes were behind him getting unceremoniously dumped as coach.
With the Test series to begin in Langer’s home town of Perth next Wednesday, the former Baggy Green legend turned coach will get behind the microphone to add his expert analysis of the game.
‘A lot of journalists use the word ‘source’. I would say, change that word to ‘coward’. 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,’ was the astonishing Langer escalation of the tensions, that had finally begun to simmer.
The move by Seven could be related to fears Langer will use the platform to continue grinding his axe and clash with the ‘cowards’ he alluded to. ‘Everyone was being nice to my face but I was reading about this stuff,’ Langer said in the explosive BackChat podcast episode on Wednesday.
Langer also claimed none of the players or Cricket Australia staff gave him feedback about his intense style of coaching. ‘I spoke to Pat Cummins. He said to me about five times, “This might be brutally honest”,’ he said.
‘I said, “Pat, there is nothing brutal about your feedback. What is brutal is I’m hearing it behind my back through the media or through sources. No one’s telling me. Tell me.”‘ The claim was strongly refuted by Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley, who bluntly spoke of his ‘disappointment’ at Langer’s comments.
‘Following a comprehensive process, Justin was offered a short-term contract extension, which he rejected. ‘I am disappointed by Justin’s comments unfairly criticizing some of our players. The playing group are aware they have my full support,’ said Hockley.
‘We have not commented to date other than to correct inaccuracies, of which there are a number in Justin’s comments,’ said Hockley. ‘Regular formal and informal opportunities to provide and receive feedback took place throughout his tenure, which is consistent with a high-performance environment.
Despite an ODI series whitewash against England, the Aussie men’s side has found itself in the headlines for a host of negative reasons of late; be it over Cummins demanding a $40million energy sponsor be dropped, or insisting the squad were too ‘fatigued to care’ about their home T20 World Cup failure.
Skipper Pat Cummins – the player most in the spotlight after Langer’s ugly departure – is said to be ‘non-plussed’ at Langer’s comments, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Likely because the players are keen to focus on the upcoming Test series against an always unpredictable West Indies side.