Cricket: Under-fire Australia coach Justin Langer lets loose on ‘soap opera’


Australian cricket coach Justin Langer has hit back at what he calls the country’s “soap opera” amid a wave of criticism after the team’s embarrassing defeat to India in the third test at the MCG.

Langer addressed the media on Monday, less than 24 hours after the hosts were beaten by 137 runs and with now face a historic series loss to India.

With disgraced duo Steve Smith and David Warner still banned for their respective parts in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, Usman Khawaja’s century in Dubai remains the only hundred scored by an Aussie batsman in almost a year.

Several test greats including Shane Warne have blasted the Aussies for the MCG horror show but Langer admitted there is no quick fox for the continued batting woes.

Langer has added little-known South African-born Marnus Labuschagne to the Aussie squad for the final test in Syndey.

The South African-born batsman is expected to replace Mitchell Marsh who had a shocker in Melbourne, where the visitors took a 2-1 lead. If India triumph at the SCG, it will be the first time they have claimed a series on Aussie shores.

The Queensland player made his test debut against Pakistan in the UAE but failed to make his mark in the middle order, scoring 0, 13, 25 and 43.

Labuschagne’s only averaged 28 from nine innings and taken five wickets from 76 overs at an average of 59 since his axing from the test squad.

Peter Handscomb could return for the SCG series finale after missing out toMarsh, while struggling opener Aaron Finch should be spared the axe.

“Try being a selector at the moment,” Langer said yesterday. “We’ve got to be careful not to reward poor performances but … it’s not as if the guys are absolutely banging the door down.

“Most of our batters knocking on the door are averaging in the 30s [in the Sheffield Shield].

“The art of batting, we’ve got some work to do. Whether it’s the system … whether it’s something we’ve got to change in our psyche, I’m not sure. It’s something everyone is looking at.”

To make matter worse, Langer has had to answer questions about an explosive interview given by Cameron Bancroft, who has just returned from his nine-month ban for the tampering saga.

Bancroft, who was dismissed for just two in the Perth Scorchers’ defeat against Hobart in the Big Bash on Sunday night, blamed the tampering saga on Warner in a tell-all interview with former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist on Boxing Day.

Cameron Bancroft's return to the crease didn't last long as he was dismissed for just two runs in the Big Bash. Photo / Getty
Cameron Bancroft’s return to the crease didn’t last long as he was dismissed for just two runs in the Big Bash. Photo / Getty

Langer admitted the interview was a “distraction”, adding the continued headlines added to the “soap opera we’re in every day”, AAP reported.

“I feel like the director of a soap opera,” Langer said. “I honestly do.”

“Coaching is about man management and looking after people, caring for people, and that was just another distraction last week,” Langer said.

“There’s a really good process in place that we’re going to go through to get the boys back in the team, I liked seeing Cameron play last night.”

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Publish date : 2018-12-31 05:57:36

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