“People are kidding themselves” – Justin Langer hits back at criticism of his coaching

Justin Langer

Justin Langer has been on the receiving end of potshots from the Australian cricket fraternity since his team’s debilitating loss to India at home. The head coach has now hit back, saying that critiques questioning his camaraderie with the players are ‘kidding themselves’.

Reports are rife about some Australian players going behind Justin Langer’s back and questioning his tutelage. Others have spoken on his passionate confrontation with some of the Australian players as shown in the documentary ‘The Test’.

In conversation with The Age, Justin Langer expressed his disappointment that he is being slammed over the scenes recorded when his coaching career was in a nascent stage.

“It has been suggested that … the players walk on eggshells. If we remember, that was from the [Amazon] documentary when I was three or four months into my tenure. We had just got beaten by India, we had just come back from England where we had lost 5-0 … yeah, I was a bit tense then, but I was also learning about my players and they were learning about me. And it was a part of an edited year-and-a-half filming of a documentary and that was one line that came out. Now it keeps coming back. If my relationships haven’t deepened with my players and got better and richer overs two-and-a-half years, with everything that we have been through, people are kidding themselves,” said Langer.

Justin Langer also admitted that he can be passionate and even grumpy, but exuded his keenness to listen to the opinions of the other stakeholders.

“I am intense, yep, I am passionate, yep, I get grumpy sometimes, tell me a coach who doesn’t? Do I love my job? I absolutely love it. Do I love my players? I love my players… I will always take feedback on board, I have all through my life. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t take feedback on board all the time,” he added.

The loss to India was the Australian team’s 2nd consecutive loss to India at home. Before that, Australia under Langer reached the semi-finals of the World Cup 2019, retained the Ashes in England and won many bilateral series.

Besides his taskmaster coaching style, some figures in Australian cricket have also alluded to Justin Langer’s apparent ‘siege mentality’ as a possible concern in the squad.

Lashing out at the same, Langer said he is using people’s disdain as his motivation. The head coach also claimed that the team will learn from the recent lows and will get better.

“I keep hearing about this siege mentality. One of the things that helped me as a player was a siege mentality in the sense that if people write you off, you use it as motivation. One of my greatest strengths in life is one, I am very self aware, and two, one of my greatest strengths in life is I learn. When you have tough times you either quit or get better and the way you get better is to learn from what you have been through. We will do that,” said Langer.

Justin Langer’s next assignment will be a 5-match T20I series in New Zealand along with a Test tour of South Africa which is yet to be confirmed.

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