Australian batsman Usman Khawaja has suggested that the recent turn of events will make the Australian head coach Justin Langer feel as if the players in the team are 'stabbing him in the back.' He also revealed that people think he got dropped because of Langer, but that hasn't been the case.
With a string of defeats in T20Is and a heated exchange between Justin Langer and a CA journalist in Bangladesh - Australian cricket has seen a fair bit of tension and turmoil in the last few weeks. There have also been reports of a divide in the dressing room between the players and Langer. So much so that Cricket Australia had to come forward and defend Justin Langer after he faced immense scrutiny with his position in question.
Usman Khawaja, whose relationship with Langer was well documented in The Test documentary on Amazon after the ball-tampering scandal in 2019, has stated that the Aussie head coach must be feeling betrayed over the series of events in the last few weeks. He also added that the players need to take ownership of their displays.
"How do you think JL feels? He probably feels like the guys in the team are stabbing him in the back and that's what it looks like and that's why it's so disappointing. It's actually a really bad look. This is something the group needs to sort out ASAP. It's not always the coaches. The guys aren't performing, the players need to take ownership at some stage. It's not one person so there needs to be some sort of perspective put around this," Khawaja said on his YouTube channel.
The southpaw further stated that Langer is very passionate but his greatest weakness is his emotion, and that is what lets him down.
"He [Langer] is a very passionate person. Loves Australian cricket, wants the best for everyone, wants to only succeed. He's driven by winning, driven by winning the right way and all the things he brought after sandpaper gate were focused on those things.
"One thing that keeps coming up is his emotions. Yes, the man wears his heart on his sleeve. He can be very emotional. It's probably his one downside, his greatest weakness is his emotion. He rides the highs and rides the lows but it's only because he is passionate. Unfortunately, it's probably the one thing that's letting him down the most but it comes from a very good place. He knows it, he knows he needs to improve, he's said it in the media, I've chatted to him."
Khawaja, in the Amazon documentary, had told Langer how the squad was intimidated by him and ever since, his axing from the side has been attributed to the relationship between the two. But, the 34-year-old said that things are quite contrary to what people think and after that episode with Langer, he has only got closer to him.
"People have seen the Amazon Test series, Uzzie is out of the team because of Justin Langer - let me stop it right there, my relationship with Justin Langer is really good," he said. "I still talk to him, still text him till this day because we have a lot of respect for each other.
"People thought I got dropped because I stood up to him, it's actually the opposite, I actually got closer - he gained my respect and I gained his because we had some really honest and open conversations."