Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has offered his support to head coach Justin Langer who was caught in the middle of a storm when he was under hotel quarantine in Adelaide with the Australian team.
Tensions flared up between the 46-year-old Langer and the cricketers and Cricket Australia (CA) had to do a lot of fire-fighting, holding an emergency Zoom meeting on August 18 where CA chairman Earl Eddings, CEO Hockley, Test skipper Paine, limited-overs captain Aaron Finch, and vice-captain Pat Cummins were present.
“I have got no doubt. I know there’s been a lot of negativity the last few weeks, I really felt for Justin, I rang Justin a few times. They just got back from that tough tour of the West Indies and then Bangladesh, and he was locked up in his hotel room in quarantine in Adelaide, and he was sort of copping it left, right and centre. Me and a lot of his close friends have reached out to him,” said Ponting to 2GB Radio while promoting his label Ponting Wines ahead of Father’s Day in Australia.
Langer came under intense scrutiny after returning from Australia’s 4-1 T20I series losses to West Indies and Bangladesh. There were reports of discontent between him and the players apart from alleged heated argument with a Cricket Australia staffer in Dhaka.
“As I made really clear to Justin, when you’re in that position in Australian sport, whether you’re a high-profile coach or a captain of a national team, if you’re not getting the results, then you’ve got to expect the negativity. And that’s what coming his way in the last few weeks,” said Ponting.
The chatter on Langer’s future caused CA CEO Nick Hockley to issue a public statement of support on August 18. On the same day, Hockley and CA Chairman Earl Eddings held an emergency zoom meeting featuring Langer, Test captain Tim Paine, ODI and T20I captain Aaron Finch along with vice-captain Pat Cummins.
“It sounds like the captain and some of the senior players have had some pretty direct conversation with Justin about the things they think he needs to get better at. But he is also the sort of bloke who seeks that sort of advice anyway. He wants to find out how he can get better and what he can do better,” observed Ponting.
Ponting, who served as the assistant coach for Australia under Langer during the 2019 Cricket World Cup, said that the away tours were tough for Australia as they were missing a majority of their first-choice players.
“If you wind the clock back not even 12 months ago, the Australian team were the number one ranked Test team and T20 team in the world, we know all the talent is there. The last tour to Bangladesh and the West Indies was pretty tough to judge the coaches on because I think there was eight or nine out of the starting XI for T20 and one-day cricket weren’t there,” concluded Ponting.