Justin Langer has opened up about how his personal life has taken a toll because of the insane amount of media criticism after taking over as Australian coach. Langer has also added that the series loss to India was as low a moment in his life as was his drop from the side in 1993 and 2001.
When Langer took over the role of Australia’s head coach after Darren Lehmann’s resignation following Sandpapergate scandal, it was a tough time to sail the boat to safety. He had the job of resurrecting Australian pride, and winning back the trust of the countrymen while also at the time, preparing the team for the two back-to-back assignment in England - 2019 World Cup and Ashes.
While he somehow remained successful in the first count, as Tim Paine and co. conducted themselves brilliantly, the upcoming Ashes, starting August 1, will be a test of character for the Aussies. That would of course remain as a difficult proposition, and one that would require lots of effort, Langer is ready to stand firm at the helm of the affairs. However, that comes with a price as he will have to stay away from his family and kids, and Langer spoke about how the coaching job has taken a toll on his personal life.
"We got to day three or day four of the last Test in Sydney and my family had been over for Boxing Day and for the SCG Test match. I've known my wife since I was 14 years old, so she knows everything about me, and they were leaving. I had to get in the team car to go to the ground at 8.15am. They were leaving that day, and we were at breakfast at 8 o'clock and my wife started crying at the breakfast table in front of my daughters,” Langer told ESPNcricinfo.
"I said what's going on, I had never seen my wife cry - we know everything about each other. She said 'I just don't like what's happening here, I don't like what it's doing to you, I don't like what it's doing to us, people are so mean, what people are saying about you and the team and Australian cricket'. That was a real eye opener for me, that it was affecting my family."
After the India series ended in January, Australia started preparing themselves for the World Cup with an ODI series against India. When few journalists asked him some uncomfortable questions about how Glenn Maxwell had been wrongly led to believe he would be playing long-from cricket for Australia the year before, Langer had some exchanges with the journalists which gave him a wrong PR in Aussie media. Langer said it was a very uneasy time for him and he believes the period to be as critical to his coaching career as being dropped from the Test team in 1993 and 2001.
"I got, I'd say two out of 10 grumpy with the journalist in Sydney, and I was also amazed at the backlash of that as well," Langer said. "I apologised straight after the event, that's me, but I realised then and the way people said 'he's getting angry, he's losing it'. I didn't feel that but my wife was getting upset, that was a real moment. I've said privately and publicly a few times if I look back to my career, 1993 when I got dropped for the first time, really tough time, but pivotal in my life.
"I got dropped in 2001, a really, really tough time, but pivotal in my life. I look to January 2019 in Sydney, really tough time, but I've got no doubt it'll be a massive part of my evolution as a coach. I got a really nice email from Malcolm Conn [former journalist and now New South Wales communications manager], just after that press conference. He'd obviously watched me grow from a young player to a player who retired however many years later and he gave me some really good advice. He knows what it was, but when I'm getting that sort of feedback from my wife, that sort of feedback from the team, I knew I had to find ways to get better and hopefully I've done that."
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