Last updated on 1 minute ago1 minute ago.From the section Cricket
Justin Langer has resigned as head coach of the Australia men’s team.
The 51-year-old’s contract was expiring in June and Cricket Australia (CA) said he turned down a short-term extension.
He took over the role in 2018 following Australia’s ball-tampering scandal against South Africa, but leaves having won the T20 World Cup and The Ashes.
On Friday, England’s temporary director of cricket Andrew Strauss refused to rule out the possibility of Langer becoming Chris Silverwood’s successor.
Silverwood was sacked as England head coach and lead selector on Thursday in the wake of the 4-0 defeat by Australia in this winter’s Ashes series.
Langer’s management team said his resignation was “effective immediately”, ending months of speculation as to whether he would continue as Australia head coach.
In confirming the resignation, CA chief 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 had earlier 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.”
Langer replaced Darren Lehmann, who resigned after the ball-tampering scandal that rocked cricket and also led to captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner being sacked and banned for a year for their part in the controversy, while batsman Cameron Bancroft was suspended for nine months.
Andrew McDonald, who had been assistant coach, has been appointed interim head coach. He is expected to lead Australia’s men’s team 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 T20 in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Lahore.
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 Australian Test 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.
“I actually think it’s a really sad day as far as Australian cricket is concerned.”
Another former team-mate, Matthew Hayden, told ABC 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.”
On Friday, when asked about Langer, England’s temporary director of cricket 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.
“I personally feel someone with an outside view who can check and challenge the thoughts within the dressing room is a healthy thing.”