SYDNEY: Justin Langer vowed to fix the scandal-hit Australian cricket team’s behaviour and win back respect after being named head coach in all three formats of the game Thursday.
The former Test opener, 47, starts his new role on May 22 for a four-year term which takes in two Ashes series, a World Cup and a World Twenty20 tournament.
He takes the reins at a time of crisis following the 12-month suspensions of ex-captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner over a ball-tampering scandal which also saw previous coach Darren Lehmann quit.
“The expectations are high in the Australian cricket team. We have got to make sure the behaviours are good. If we do that, I think the outcomes will look after themselves,” Langer told a media conference.
“I think one of the things that’s really important is that we keep looking to earn respect. To me, respect is worth more than all the gold in the world.”
Cricket Australia has ordered a review of the damaged sport’s culture in the wake of the scandal during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town that tarnished Australian cricket’s reputation.
“We all know what the acceptable behaviours are. There is a difference between competitiveness and aggression and we’ve got to be careful with that,” Langer said.
“We look to encourage great cricketers, but also great people. So we if we can encourage great people and great Australians over the next four years, I think that’s a really important foundation for us.”
Langer opened the door for a return of Smith, Warner and Cameron Bancroft, who was also banned for the tampering incident.
“We’ll learn from what’s happened,” he said. “They are great kids and it was such a surprise they made the mistake they did. But they are great kids, we have all made mistakes, we can all get better at things.
“If we can keep mentoring and helping them and they want to meet the standards of the Australian cricket team, then of course they’d be welcomed back.”
– Succession plan –
Langer comes into the job after dominating domestic cricket in recent years as coach of Western Australia and the Perth Scorchers.
CA chief executive James Sutherland said he was the “clear standout” choice.
“Whilst Darren Lehmann was not due to complete his term until next year, we have had a succession plan in place for this role for some time,” Sutherland said.
“The plan has allowed us to consider several worthy candidates, but Justin was the clear standout, particularly based on his recent coaching and player development achievements.
“We firmly believe Justin is the right person to lead this team and have huge confidence in what he will bring to the role.”
Langer had a highly decorated playing career, representing Australia in 105 Test matches and eight ODI matches. He scored more than 7,500 Test runs -– including 23 centuries -– and was an integral member of the team during one of its most successful eras.
His playing career spanned almost 20 years and 360 first-class matches, scoring more than 28,000 first-class runs.
As a coach, he had been in charge of Western Australia and the Perth Scorchers since November 2012.
Langer led the Scorchers to Big Bash League T20 championships three times, the most of any coach, in 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2016-17.
He also led the WA Warriors to one-day Cup titles twice, in 2014-15 and 2017-18.
Langer was involved in the Australian team as an assistant coach for three years from November 2009 and has twice been head coach on an interim basis — in an ODI tri-series in the Caribbean in 2016, and a home T20 series against Sri Lanka in 2017.