Justin Langer has backtracked on his comments branding the sources of dressing room leaks during his tenure as Australia head coach as “cowards”, saying his former players are “like [his] younger brothers”.
Langer’s stint as Australia head coach came to an end in early 2022, with him turning down a six-month contract extension. The end of his reign was marred by several unflattering news reports, which detailed Langer’s unsavoury behaviour behind the scenes.
Speaking to Code Sports earlier this week, Langer appeared to label his former players as “cowards” for going to the media without revealing their identities. “Everyone was being nice to my face,” Langer said. “But I was reading about this stuff and half of it, I swear to God and on my kids’ lives, I could not believe that is what was making the papers. A lot of journalists use the word ‘source’. I would say, change that word to ‘coward’.”
However, writing for the West Australian, Langer has decried any rumours of a rift between him and his former chargers. “This rubbish dialogue of me fighting with the current team must stop,” he wrote. “Simply because it is not true. They are my friends. They are like my younger brothers. Anything said to the contrary is false. For four years we drank, ate, celebrated, strategised and lived together.
“We fought back from sandpapergate and Covid together and we won the T20 World Cup and Ashes together. ‘Was it always perfect? No, it wasn’t? What business, what team is always perfect? I have never met a leader who is every single person’s cup of tea. Again, that’s life. And I accept my four years with the team had to come to an end. It’s just a shame it happened like it did. But now, it’s time to move on, and next week at Optus Stadium is a great opportunity for this current crop to continue making Australians proud of the team.”
Langer’s comments caused an uproar in the Australian media, with former captain Mark Taylor among those to criticise him. Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley responded to the complaints, stating he wanted to “correct inaccuracies” in Langer’s recollection of events.
“We have not commented to date other than to correct inaccuracies, of which there are a number in Justin’s comments,” Hockley said on Wednesday. “Regular formal and informal opportunities to provide and receive feedback took place throughout his tenure, which is consistent with a high performance environment. Following a comprehensive process, Justin was offered a short-term contract extension, which he rejected.
“I am disappointed by Justin’s comments unfairly criticising some of our players. The playing group are aware they have my full support. After an excellent performance against England in the one-day international series, we are fully focussed on an exciting Test series against the West Indies and South Africa, with the first Test starting at Perth Stadium next Wednesday.”