Being told to reapply for Aussie coach’s job is a slap in the face of Langer: O’Donnell

Former Australian pace bowler Simon O’Donnell has said that reports of Australian coach Justin Langer being asked by Cricket Australia (CA) to reapply for the job was a “slap in the face” of the former cricketer, adding that he doubted the 51-year-old would like to “come back” after the humiliation.

Reports in Australia said that Langer was asked by CA chief executive Nick Hockley and head of performance Ben Oliver to reapply for the coach’s job along with other candidates despite having guided the team to its maiden ICC T20 World Cup title in the UAE last year and the 4-0 Ashes win recently.

The report in foxsports.com.au also said that the former Australia opener “reacted angrily when the possibility of him re-applying for the job was raised”, adding that Langer would most likely be offered a 12 to 14 month arrangement on a trial basis.

However, CA issued a statement on Tuesday denying the men’s head coach was asked to reapply for his position during a meeting last week.

“There were a number of inaccuracies in a story written by Tom Morris on the Fox Sports website on Monday concerning a meeting between Australian men’s team Head Coach Justin Langer, Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley and EGM of High Performance and National Teams Ben Oliver on Friday,” CA said in a statement released on Tuesday.

“While we do not comment on confidential conversations, we felt on this occasion it was important to correct the record. Among other false claims, we reject outright the assertion that the meeting was fiery or heated and that Justin was asked to reapply for his job.

“Justin has always been contracted as Head Coach through to the middle of this year and we have consistently maintained that discussions around the future of the role would commence following the conclusion of the men’s Ashes series. Friday’s meeting was the first time that we had the opportunity to meet together in person, reflect on the team’s success and discuss the road ahead. We will continue with this process and make an announcement once it is complete,” said the CA statement.

Simon O’Donnell told sen.com.au that if what had been reported in the media about Langer being asked to reapply was true then, “If I was Justin Langer, I don’t know what I’d do.

“He went through what was a humiliating period when the players did partly revolt on him, he made the adjustments that they required; the teams have gone and won the World T20 Cup and just smashed England in the Ashes. To even think they would have to ask him to reapply for his position… That slap in the face, I’m not sure how you come back from that.”

O’Donnell felt that following the alleged fallout between Langer and CA bosses, the situation could become untenable for the coach who took over the side following the ‘Sandpaper-gate scandal’ in 2018.

“If that’s the case, I have no doubt that Justin Langer will not be coach of Australia, he’s already off. And the two blokes he met with on Monday (Hockley and Oliver), I’d be more pushing for them to be off than Justin Langer to be off. The worst part from a cricket point of view, the politics are toxic, it is horrendous, the disdain held from state to state is absolutely horrendous. He’s got no hope of getting the job if this report is correct, I don’t think he has any other way to go about this than to walk.”

O’Donnell also came down heavily on the cricketers saying their silence was “extraordinary”.

“The silence of the players is extraordinary… they weren’t silent when they wanted him out,” added O’Donnell.

Langer reportedly had an uneasy relationship with some players in the squad, and things came to a boil following Australia’s away defeat to Bangladesh in a T20I series last year. The Cricket Australia management and the Australian cricket team leadership group had to sit down to resolve the crisis.

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