Trouble in Paradise: Justin Langer’s coaching style under review

After the Test Series loss to India, Justin Langer’s coaching style came under scrutiny. Sources close to the team told the Sydney Morning Herald that the Australia head coach’s management style “is thin” with the players. According to the report, Langer’s intensity and mood swings wore down experienced players, who spent months in quarantine or bio-bubbles.

The reality sandwich

According to the report, during the final test in Brisbane, Langer ordered a player to stop usually stuffing a toasted sandwich in his pocket before heading out onto the pitch.

“You are marching against India, we are trying to win a test match and one of our players is marching with a toasted sandwich in hand”, Langer – whose contract as coach and selector in three formats lasts another 18 month. – was quoted as saying. “I spoke at length with (the player) yesterday. I said, “How do you think that looks, mate?” Isn’t that something I should say?

Micro-management of bowlers

SMH also reports that some senior players are frustrated with the micro-management, with Langer bombarding bowlers with stats and instructions during lunch breaks.

Langer denied the charge: “It’s actually the opposite of what’s happening. I never talk to bowlers about stats, ever. I don’t go to any of the bowlers’ meetings. This is what the bowlers coach is supposed to do. And the lessons of the last few months are that I should start to look more into this.

Langer’s response

Langer said on Friday that any suggestion of deteriorating relations with players “could not be further from the truth,” but added: “leadership is not a popularity contest.”

“If the players just want someone to tickle their stomachs all the time, I’m not doing my job.”

Not the first time

A previous confrontation between Langer and his players over his coaching style – after Australia failed to win back the Border-Gavaskar Trophy two years ago – was a prominent theme in the documentary produced by Amazon The Test: A New Era for Australia’s Team ‘.

The coach received a harsh message at a team meeting after the 2018 Boxing Day Test drubbing. Captain Tim Paine wanted Langer to be more positive and drummer Usman Khawaja asked him not to give it back. too complicated ”.

“We can’t always control the outcome. You improve as individuals, players, staff, everyone, master this emotion better, be more balanced, without trying to make things too complicated ”, we saw saying Khawaja. “I think that’s what the boys are trying to say. Does this make sense? If not, then… ”

When asked where Langer’s message came from, Khawaja replied, “Um, I think boys are intimidated by you, Alf. I think there is a bit of the sort of thing that works on eggshells. I feel like I think the boys are afraid to say it.

An old New Years resolution

After the 2-1 loss in 2018-19, Langer resolved to be gentler on the ODI Series in India. By changing his approach, he allowed players to take more control over training. The team came back from a 0-2 deficit to win a five-game series.

“(The Test Series loss to India) was a massive wake-up call and a really tough time in my life,” Langer said on a podcast. “I have no doubts in 10 years, I will come back to this period and it will be the achievement of my coaching career.

After the 1-wicket loss to Leeds during the Ashes, Langer waited a day before conducting an autopsy to avoid an emotionally charged feedback session. Australia fought back to win at Old Trafford and, although they lost at The Oval, managed to keep the Ashes.

Everything seemed fine last year. In October, after Sheffield Shield’s first round of games were dominated by fringe players, Langer called it a telltale sign of a glorious time when “it is more difficult to get into the Test squad than to get into the Test. exit”.

Then India came back for a visit …

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