Australia coach Justin Langer resigns after rejecting short-term contract

Justin Langer has resigned as head coach of the Australia men’s team.

Cricket Australia said the 51-year-old, whose contract was due to expire in June, rejected a short-term extension.

Langer, who took over in 2018 following the Australia ball-tampering scandal, won the T20 World Cup and the Ashes in the past three months.

On Friday England’s interim director of cricket Sir Andrew Strauss refused to rule out the possibility of Langer taking over as England coach.

Chris Silverwood was sacked as head coach and lead selector on Thursday following this winter’s 4-0 Ashes defeat in Australia.

Langer’s management team said his resignation was “effective immediately”, ending months of speculation as to whether he would continue.

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley said: “We are naturally disappointed Justin has decided against continuing as coach but respect his decision and wish him all the best in the future.

“Justin has been an outstanding coach of the Australian men’s team over the past four years. He has restored the trust in the team and his legacy is assured.”

Langer’s manager James Henderson tweeted: “As a player Justin retired on top after a 5-0 Ashes whitewash. Today, despite the views of a faceless few, he finishes his time as Australian cricket coach winning the T20 World Cup and the Ashes. Lest we forget what JL took over in 2018.”

Hockley said there had been some “challenging, robust and direct” conversations around the “evolving” head coach role.

He said that while the plan was to keep an “overarching head coach”, Australian cricket was moving to a more “shared leadership model”.

Hockley said he had hoped for Langer to be a part of the “transition”, adding that he had “earned the right” to defend the T20 World Cup when Australia host the tournament in October and November.

“We felt the team and the role of head coach had evolved and it was time to transition over the course of a period, so we were very clear that we were looking at a short-term extension only for Justin,” Hockley said.

Langer replaced Darren Lehmann, who resigned after the ball-tampering scandal that rocked cricket and also led to captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and Cameron Bancroft being banned.

Andrew McDonald, who had been assistant coach, has been appointed interim head coach. He is expected to lead Australia when they tour Pakistan for the first time in 24 years in March.

The sides will play three Tests, three one-day internationals and one Twenty20 in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Lahore.

Reaction – ‘a sad day’ as Langer ‘pushed out’

Reports in Australia have repeatedly suggested Langer did not have the support of the dressing room, with players said to be unhappy with his leadership style. Langer himself has acknowledged he can be “intense”, “serious”, and “grumpy”.

Legendary Australia captain Ricky Ponting, a former team-mate of Langer, said: “A very small group of the playing group and – he believes – a couple of other staff around the team haven’t entirely loved the way that he’s gone about it.

“That’s been enough to force a man that’s put his life and heart and soul into Australian cricket and done what I believe a sensational job… [that] has been enough to push him out of his dream job.

“It’s a really sad day as far as Australian cricket is concerned.”

Another former team-mate, Matthew Hayden, said he was “pretty emotional” at the departure and said the “Australian cricket community love Justin” because he made them “proud again”.

“He came into one of the most toxic environments in Australian sport,” Hayden told ABC. “It had been disgraced and dishonoured.”

Asked about Langer on Friday, Strauss said: “I know him well and on the surface he’s done a very good job with that Australian cricket team, so I wouldn’t rule him out.”

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