Paine responds to Langer reports
AUSTRALIAN test captain Tim Paine has defended head coach Justin Langer amid reports of player unrest and dressing room leaks.
Reports of tension within the Australian camp emerged after the test series loss to India earlier this year, and before Langer and team manager Gavin Dovey were reportedly involved in a verbal altercation with a Cricket Australia staffer during the recent T20 series against Bangladesh.
Malcolm Conn, a former communications manager at Cricket Australia, wrote a scathing article in The Sydney Morning Herald criticising Langer’s “volatile” management style.
Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley publicly backed Langer, praising his work in “raising the culture, values and behaviours of the Australian men’s team” since replacing Darren Lehmann in 2018.
“There’s no hiding from it, it’s been a tough week, certainly for Justin Langer than anyone else,” Paine told SEN Hobart’s Jack and Painey.
“From a story out of Bangladesh about an argument with an in-house journo and then for it to open up a lot of old wounds in the media – albeit some had been leaked from where we think is inside – disappointed in that.
“But at the end of the day, we’ve had discussions. The stuff that was reported if we’re totally honest wasn’t anything new, this is stuff that’s been dragged up from an Ashes series two or three years ago.
“We’ve had ongoing discussions with JL, JL’s had ongoing discissions with me and his players about us always wanting to get better.
“It’s just been a bit of shame I think in the last week that a lot of the failings around Australian cricket have been pinned on JL. That’s certainly not the case.”
Australia crashed to consecutive 4-1 T20 series defeats to the West Indies and Bangladesh, heaping further pressure on Langer.
Paine revealed the leaders within the Australian team and Langer had some “really robust conversations” ahead of the T20 World Cup and the Ashes, both slated for later this year.
“We haven’t lived up to our own standards on the field, we haven’t won enough games of cricket and that’s pretty much put us all under pressure,” Paine said.
“But that’s the world we live in, we’re playing professional sport, you’re judged really harshly when you don’t win, we’ve clearly had a bit of a rough trot with white-ball cricket, the red-ball team hasn’t been playing.
“We’ve had some really robust conversations amongst our leaders in the last few days and we’re really looking forward to the next six months with JL.
“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 and looked to move forward.”
Langer’s contract runs through to the middle of 2022.
– BY ALEX ZAIA/ SEN