Australia coach Justin Langer has refuted suggestions his relationship with players is on the rocks as a report emerged claiming his intensity is wearing thin with some members of the team.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports sources within the dressing room say players have been worn down by Langer’s mood swings and overbearing management style as they spent a draining summer — and much of 2020 — confined to bio-secure bubbles because of the global pandemic.
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The report refers to frustration within the inner sanctum about Langer’s inability to connect with players, and also suggests stars have been more inclined to turn to assistant coach Andrew McDonald for advice.
But the national team coach doesn’t believe there’s any merit to claims his relationship with players is on shaky ground, telling Nine newspapers it “couldn’t be further from the truth”.
“If players just want someone to tickle their stomachs all the time then I’m not doing my job,” he said.
Langer has done an admirable job rebuilding the Australian side and winning back the public’s respect after taking over from Darren Lehmann in the wake of the ball tampering scandal in 2018.
Langer has always been a hard taskmaster.Source:Supplied
But he’s under enormous pressure as coach in all three formats and there are suggestions down the track Australia would be better off introducing a specialist T20 coach to lessen the burden on Langer.
The former Test star, who wore the baggy green 105 times, was famous for his work ethic and determination — traits he has brought with him as coach. But his approach hasn’t always won favour with players.
Langer was a central figure in fly-on-the-wall documentary The Test, which premiered on Amazon last year, and was shown having robust discussions with senior player Usman Khawaja.
Khawaja confronted the coach after a net session in the UAE, arguing Langer’s instructions and rules were too stifling, prompting the 50-year-old to hit back and say the batsmen could run their own batting drills when they stopped collapsing all the time.
Khawaja also told Langer players were “walking on egg shells” because they were intimidated by him.
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