I think maybe Steve Smith just wasn’t strong enough in his leadership, says Justin Langer

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I think maybe Steve Smith just wasn’t strong enough in his leadership, says Justin Langer

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SportsCafe Desk

06/14/2018

Justin Langer, who was recently appointed as head coach of Australia team, pointed out that it could have been a possibility that Steve Smith wasn’t strong in his leadership to handle the ball tampering situation. He insisted that the players were playing like ‘spoilt brats’ before the scandal.

Steve Smith, David Warnerand Cameron Bancroft were all suspended for their roles in the incident where sandpaper was used to rough up the ball during the third Test in South Africa in March. Langer revealed that there were whispers about the bad behavior of the team leading up to the huge scandal. He also pointed out that the Smith led team was playing like a ‘spoilt brat’.   

“The whispers were there,” Langer said of the team under former coach Darren Lehmann in a British Sky TV interview. “Once upon a time, the opposition didn’t like us because we played really good, hard cricket -- we were very skilful and we won a lot of games.

“It’s easy to dislike the opposition if they’re good, but there have been too many whispers in the last 12 months or so about the abuse on the field, or dare I say, the side playing like spoilt brats.”

However, he stated that the team must recover from the incident and make sure that such incidents don’t happen again. In the recent past, Langer and the newly appointed captain Tim Paine have been on a mission to win back the trust of people in Australian cricket team, making some drastic changes in the team.

“So you’ve got to wonder why it gets to that point? But it has happened now and we have got to make sure we learn from it and get better from it because we can’t shy away either.”

The scandal was preceded by several other unseemly incidents in the South African series which included a stairwell clash between Warner and Quinton de Kock, and Nathan Lyon dropping the ball on a prone AB de Villiers after he was run out. Asked about the difference between the aggressive side he once played in and Smith’s team, Langer pointed the finger at the captaincy.

“I think Steve Smith maybe just wasn’t strong enough in his leadership,” he said. “But he loves the game of cricket -- he practices harder than anyone I’ve ever met -- and he is a very, very nice young lad. There’s no doubt about that.”

Warner, who like Smith has been serving a one-year ban from state and international cricket, was blamed for developing the ball-tampering plot and instructing Bancroft to carry it out.

Langer took charge of his first game on Wednesday, with Australia losing the opening match of their one-day series in England by three wickets at The Oval.

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