Australian cricket team were waiting eagerly to hand India a thrashing in the 4 Test match Border-Gavaskar trophy. It was widely expected that the Justin Langer coached Australian side will whitewash India 4-0 as India had several of the key players injured and their captain wasn’t available post the first Test. To make matters worse, India were bowled out for the lowest ever total (36) in the 2nd innings of the 1st Test at Adelaide. Langer and his men were bullish and buoyant about defeating India convincingly.
Australia did not expect India to lodge a fight back:
The Indian team shocked, surprised, and wowed the entire world with their grit, guts, and gumption as they pulled off one of the best series wins in Test cricketing history. India notched up wins at Melbourne and Brisbane thereby denting the Australian ego. The defeat has not gone down well with Australia.
There is trouble in the Australian camp:
There have been reports of a dressing room rift in the Australian camp if the sources at Sydney Morning Herald have to be believed. The tabloid reported that the players have been unhappy with head coach Justin Langer’s measures. They are feeling hard done by the coach’s shifting emotions and micro-management. The players are feeling drained out owing to such proceedings.
— The Sydney Morning Herald (@smh) January 30, 2021
It is alleged that many of the players find Justin Langer unapproachable and prefer turning to assistant coach, Andrew McDonald for mentoring and support. While few senior cricketers are unhappy with Langer’s emphasis on micro-management of players. The Sydney Morning Herald reached out to Langer for clarification.
Justin Langer clarifies his stance on the alleged rift:
The Australian coach responded saying, “If players just want someone to tickle their stomachs all the time, then I’m not doing my job.” He also explained his stance on micro-managing players. Langer opined, “It’s actually the opposite of what happens, I never talk about statistics to the bowlers, ever. I don’t go to any of the bowlers’ meetings. That’s what the bowlers’ coach is meant to be doing. I don’t do any of that. I never, ever, ever speak to any of the bowlers about any of that sort of stuff. And the learnings of the last few months are I should start looking at that more.”
The sandwich incident:
There was a sandwich incident that grabbed headlines in the Australian media during the 4th Test at the Gabba, Brisbane. Justin Langer asked a player not to carry a toasted sandwich in his pocket while going out to bat against India. This seemingly has frustrated few of the Australian cricketers.
Langer believed that carrying a sandwich in the pocket post the sandpaper gate scandal might invite unnecessary attention. He in his defence quipped, “You’re walking on against India, we’re trying to win a test match, and one of our players walks on with a toasted sandwich in his hand, I spoke to [the player] about it at length yesterday. I said, ‘How do you reckon it looks, mate?’ Is that not something I should say?”
The Australian cricket team is a vastly experienced bunch hence Langer’s headmaster-like attitude has seemingly not gone down well with few of the senior players. However, it has been reported that the players have not let their dissatisfaction known to the Cricket Australia hierarchy.