Questions over Australia’s standards after Langer’s exit

November 11, 2022 BY

Hard man: He may have been tough, but one cricket pundit says former coach Justin Langer lifted the quality of the national team. Photo: JASON O'BRIEN/ PA

FORMER Australian all-rounder Simon O’Donnell believes the standards for the Australian cricket squad have slipped after the exit of Justin Langer.

Langer spent four years as Australia’s coach, taking the helm in 2018 after the ball tampering scandal, then resigning in early February of 2022, declining a short-term extension in the process.

Upon Langer’s departure, assistant coach Andrew McDonald filled the vacant top job, a move which O’Donnell suggests may have destabilised the team.

“Leadership via negotiation never works, I don’t care where you are, or what sport it is or what business it is, leadership of your own people via negotiation does not work because the standards will eventually drop,” O’Donnell said on SEN Breakfast.

“Now Justin Langer, whether he was right or wrong, whether his time was up or it wasn’t up, Cricket Australia made that call, the important part of Cricket Australia making that call was the input of the players.

“They were very happy then for the new coach Andrew McDonald to come in, they felt that was the best way to go.

“In my opinion, I’m not saying they’re wrong, I’m definitely not saying Andrew McDonald is not a good coach, but what I’m saying is there’s a shift of power here.”

Langer was known as quite a firm hand when coaching and, for O’Donnell, the absence of that is leading the players to see themselves as being more in charge than they should be.

“When people start to think that they’re more in charge than they are, they might start to take the odd shortcut, do something a little differently and the preparation isn’t quite there as it generally would,” he said.

“I’m a very interested observer, it’s an old saying and I like it, the day you start letting the animals run the zoo, you’re history.

“Now the summer will tell us where it’s at… we need a holistic look at what’s going on, we need the canvas to be painted by the end of the summer to see where we’re at.”

O’Donnell acknowledges that Australia’s performance in the T20 World Cup hasn’t been particularly poor, however is urging the team to look at the bigger picture.

“Quite right [we’ve only lost one game so far], but I’ll tell you what we haven’t been, we haven’t been on our game for a World Cup,” he said.

“We’ve been talking the World Cup up for twelve months and how settled we are, what the line-up is going to do, and then suddenly it was all over the place.”

“We’ve played without grasping the emotional side of the World Cup and blasting off with it.

“Our captain has been in questionable form, Steve Smith, is he in, is he out, there’s a bit of a changing of the guard going on as well, so I want to sit back and have a look.

“Just keep an eye on preparation and how people are going about things because it only takes a really small percentage of turning off to make a big difference at an elite level.

“If you’re not doing everything at 100 per cent, you’re just at 98, eventually that will tell, you won’t play the role you should be playing, and things will start to crumble.”