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Paine backs Langer as Australia coach after 'robust' discussions
Australia captain Tim Paine has backed Justin Langer as head coach after senior players held "robust" discussions with the former test opener in recent days.
Langer's role has been under the microscope in the wake of heavy T20 series defeats and amid media reports that some players had become disaffected by his intense coaching style.
Test skipper Paine said he and other senior players had cleared the air with Langer and that the coach was not to blame for the team's recent setbacks in the West Indies and Bangladesh. "It was important that myself, Aaron Finch, Pat Cummins and the leaders of Australian cricket got around him, discussed things that needed to be discussed and then got around him and supported him to move forward," Paine said on radio station SEN Hobart on Friday.
"The last few days we've really been able to galvanise around him, to have some really robust discussions on where we want to take this cricket team, what we expect of him and what he expects of us." Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley this week said Langer was contracted through to mid-2022 and praised him for helping rally the team when he took over in the wake of the Newlands ball-tampering scandal in 2018.
"It’s been a bit of a shame the last week that a lot of the failings around Australian cricket have been pinned on JL (Langer)," added Paine. "That’s certainly not the case. We haven’t lived up to our own standards on the field."
Australia sent second-string white-ball sides to the Caribbean and Bangladesh after a slew of senior players opted out of the tours. They were thrashed 4-1 by the West Indies and 4-1 in Bangladesh, their first ever series loss to the South Asians, raising alarm bells ahead of the T20 World Cup in October-November.
Langer's former test opening partner Matthew Hayden launched a spirited defence of the coach and blamed the players for leaking team issues to the media. "A lot of the content coming out about this is downright disrespectful to a bloke that’s played over 100 test matches,” he told Melbourne radio station SEN.
"Even this facetious discussion amongst senior players last night .... Umm, hello! What about meeting about the fact you’re number three in test cricket and number three in ODI rankings, and number six in T20 rankings?"
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