“That’s all you can ask from a coach” – Steve Smith defends under-fire Justin Langer

Australian Coach Justin Langer

Steve Smith

Former Australian captain Steve Smith has rallied behind his under-fire head coach, Justin Langer. Smith said thatdespite Australia’s debilitating loss to India at home, Langer has done enough by trying to constantly improve as a coach.

Justin Langer has been in the crosshairs of the Australian media and the public after he became the first coach to lose two consecutive series at home to India. There have been reports of players going behind his back to question his track master-like coaching style and his confrontational attitude.

Talking to ESPNcricinfo, Steve Smith remarked that critics should also consider the current context of sports viz-a-viz the pandemic and the demanding bio-bubbles.

“I think even if you speak to Justin, you want to be improving all the time as a coach or as a player, so of course there’s things you can always get better at. One thing that hasn’t been spoken a lot about is how tough a job it is to coach an international team, particularly in the circumstances we’ve been in when we’ve been in bubbles for long periods of time. But Justin’s always working hard, trying to improve and get better and we’ve had conversations over the last two weeks since we’ve finished and he’s always trying to get better and better and that’s all you can ask from a coach,” said Steve Smith.

Reacting to the reports, Justin Langer had admitted that he’s passionate and can be grumpy occasionally. But he had also expressed his keenness to listen to the opinions of the players and other stakeholders.

On a lighter subject, Justin Langer has often talked about the minimum effort he needs to put in to coach Steve Smith. The number 2 ranked Test batsman also talked about the same and divulged the small tweaks Langer has suggested over the past year.

“Only now and again he’ll say something particularly about the energy in my legs and tell me to have a bit more energy and that helps me move my feet a bit better and get going. He just lets me go about my business and do what I need to do. But he’s great around the group, he’s always improving and wants to get better and wants the feedback from the players, and I think that’s really important as a coach. Sometimes it can be difficult to get that feedback, you always want to get better, you always want to learn on the job and I think he does that as well as anyone,” said Steve Smith.

Justin Langer’s next assignment will be a 5-match T20I series in New Zealand which is slated to begin February 22nd.

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