On May 3rd, the former Test opener Justin Langer was officially appointed as the head coach for the Australian cricket team. Langer will begin his tenure from 22nd May, for a four-year term, which will include important tournaments like World Cup, World twenty20 and two Ashes series.
He takes in charge of the team at a very sensitive time, following the 12-month suspensions of ex-captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner over a very controversial ball-tampering scandal which also resulted in the previous coach Darren Lehmann to quit.
“The expectations are high in the Australian cricket team. We have got to make sure the behaviors are good. If we do that, I think the outcomes will look after themselves,” Langer was quoted talking to the media.
“I think one of the things that’s really important is that we keep looking to earn respect. To me, respect is worth more than all the gold in the world”, he continued.
In the wake of the scandal during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town has much tampered with Australia’s cricket reputation which eventually resulted in a review of the spoiled sports culture by Cricket Australia.
“We all know what the acceptable behaviors are. There is a difference between competitiveness and aggression, and we’ve got to be careful with that,” Langer said.
“We look to encourage great cricketers, but also great people. So we if we can encourage great people and great Australians over the next four years, I think that’s a really important foundation for us.”
On speaking about the accused Langer said, “We’ll learn from what’s happened. They are great kids, and it was such a surprise they made the mistake they did. But they are great kids; we have all made mistakes, we can all get better at things.”
Having played 105 Test matches and 8 ODIs in general, Langer was a part of Australia’s glorious era where the team played a resolute brand of cricket. Langer felt sledging was still a part of the game but said the players needed to pace attentively.
CA chief executive James Sutherland said Langer was the “clear standout” choice.
“Whilst Darren Lehmann was not due to complete his term until next year, we have had a succession plan in place for this role for some time,” Sutherland stated. “We firmly believe Justin is the right person to lead this team and have huge confidence in what he will bring to the role.”
He has scored more than 7,500 Test runs, including 23 centuries.
His playing career stretched almost 20 years and 360 first-class matches, scoring more than 28,000 first-class runs. As a coach, he had been in charge of Western Australia and the Perth Scorchers since November 2012.
Justin will be starting his tenure with the next month’s ODI tour of the UK and Australia’s next Test series against Pakistan – most likely a three-match affair in the UAE in October.
Apart from Cricket, Langer is a black belt martial artist and also an adamant Catholic follower, who has raised funds for half a dozen charities.