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Australia v India

‘It hurts’ — Langer reveals effects of coaching criticism on personal life

Langer criticism
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Justin Langer, speaking to Perth’s SportFM radio on Friday, has revealed the emotional effects of criticism of his role as Australia head coach on his personal life, disclosing how his wife was “really upset” after the recent media spotlight on him.

Langer, who replaced Darren Lehmann at the helm after the ball-tampering saga in 2018, has been under intense media scrutiny of late, especially after a report claimed that players were unhappy with his micro-management within the setup.

The report stated, among other things, that he had stopped a player, later revealed to be Marnus Labuschagne, from carrying a toasted sandwich onto the field during the Brisbane Test of the recent Australia-India series. Langer admitted that he was “hurt” when the details of the resentment among players became public before he could have an “honest conversation” with his team.

“That’s the killer,” Langer said. “I’ve talked for years about honest conversations and the worst part about it all for me was it came out two weeks after the Test match.”

The series defeat to India, their second consecutive series loss to the team at home,  put a strain on Langer and captain Tim Paine, with Langer admitting that the immense pressure, coupled with the demands of being in a bio-bubble away from family, weighed down heavily on him.

“I might sound like a sook here, but the biggest thing that will wear me down isn’t the travel, isn’t the game, isn’t the three formats, it is just the incredible spotlight you are always under,” Langer said.

“We’ve felt that the last few weeks. A lot of it was pretty rough and that wears down my family as much as anything. I’m meant to be the tough guy, but it hurts.”

He further revealed that his wife Sue got “really upset” with the constant public-eye and the recent criticism, “to the point where she almost said, ‘Seriously, what do you want to keep doing it (coaching Australia) for?'”

Langer, who joked that he has been “grumpy and intense since he was a 16 year old”, admitted that he was unsure how long he intends to remain the head coach.

“No time scale (how long he wants to coach), not at this stage. These things have a way of working themselves out.”

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