In what is possibly a move to regain its lost credibility, Cricket Australia has appointed former opening batsman Justin Langer as the head coach in all the three formats of the game. The 47-year-old batsman will start his new role on May 22 for a four-year term which takes in two Ashes series, a World Cup and a World Twenty20 tournament. Langer has got the job after ex-captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner were banned over a ball-tampering scandal which also saw the previous coach Darren Lehmann quit.
One of the biggest tasks at hand for Langer would be to regain the trust and respect of the Australian fans. “The expectations are high in the Australian cricket team. We have got to make sure the behaviours are good. If we do that, I think the outcomes will look after themselves,” Langer said in the press conference soon after his appointment.
Even though the southpaw has been a good servant for Cricket Australia, he doesn’t happen to have the cleanest of records. In 2004, during a Test against Sri Lanka, Langer tried to turn the match in his side’s favour through a disgraceful act which somehow went unnoticed by the on-field umpires.
The incident took place when Sri Lanka at 276/5, were 125 runs behind Australia’s first innings score. As the batsman was marking his guard, Langer silently walked past him, taking the bails off with his finger. The incident went unnoticed and the umpires had to refer to the TV umpire to find out if the batsman was out hit wicket. Australia had eventually won the match by 121 runs
On any other day, Langer would have been fined or banned but on that occasion, escaped. The video of the incident was shared by statistician Mohandas Menon on his Twitter handle after Langer’s appointment.
Australia’s new cricket coach… Justin Langer in the Colombo Test in 2004.. he was lucky to get out of this one…https://t.co/cWLrqsFGCI
— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) May 3, 2018
“Australia’s new cricket coach… Justin Langer in the Colombo Test in 2004.. he was lucky to get out of this one…,” the caption of the image read.
Langer comes into the job after dominating domestic cricket in recent years as coach of Western Australia and the Perth Scorchers. He scored more than 7,500 Test runs including 23 centuries and was an integral member of the team during one of its most successful eras. His playing career spanned almost 20 years and 360 first-class matches, scoring more than 28,000 first-class runs.
CA chief executive James Sutherland said he 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 said.