Australia Test captain Tim Paine has come to the rescue of under-fire coach Justin Langer and said that "leaders of Australian cricket" have to get around him ahead of the T20 World Cup and the Ashes series later this year. Matthew Hayden too, extended support to his former Test opening-partner.
Justin Langer's role has been under the scanner ever since the 1-2 Test series loss versus India earlier this year. The heavy T20 series defeats at the hands of West Indies and Bangladesh have only deteriorated things further. Moreover, reports have also emerged that several players are not happy with his intense coaching style.
Talking about the "robust" emergency zoom meeting, Paine stated that entirely blaming Langer for the Australian cricket team's failure was "a shame". The statement from Tim Pane comes soon after Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley praised Justin Langer for helping rally the team when he took over in the wake of the Newlands ball-tampering scandal in 2018. Hockley also backed Langer to complete his term which is slated to end in mid-2022.
"It was important that myself, Aaron Finch, Pat Cummins and the leaders of Australian cricket got around him, discussed things that needed to be discussed and then got around him and supported him to move forward," Paine said.
"The last few days we've really been able to galvanise around him, to have some really robust discussions on where we want to take this cricket team, what we expect of him and what he expects of us.
"It’s been a bit of a shame the last week that a lot of the failings around Australian cricket have been pinned on JL (Langer).That’s certainly not the case. We haven’t lived up to our own standards on the field."
Notably, senior players including Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith and Pat Cummins were unavailable for the T20I series against West Indies and Bangladesh. Australia lost both the series by a similar 1-4 margin.
Former Australian cricketer Matthew Hayden has also heavily defended Langer and stated that it was the players who were to blame, for getting the media involved.
"A lot of the content coming out about this is downright disrespectful to a bloke that’s played over 100 Test matches,” said Hayden.
"Even this facetious discussion amongst senior players last night .... Umm, hello! What about meeting about the fact you’re number three in Test cricket and number three in ODI rankings, and number six in T20 rankings?"