Justin Langer resigns as Australia head coach

Justin Langer has tendered his resignation to Cricket Australia and will step down as the head coach of the men’s team with immediate effect. Langer’s decision was made public on Saturday (February 5) by his management firm.

The 51-year-old Langer was involved in a lengthy meeting with the CA board on Friday at the end of which no resolution on his contract extension was achieved. Board CEO Nick Hockley later said that confidential meetings with Langer would continue before a final call.

In a media release, the board confirmed that Langer was offered a short-term contract that would have seen the head coach stay on to defend Australia’s T20 World Cup at home in October-November.

Langer’s decision ends nearly four years of a topsy-turvy stint as a coach for the former Australian opener. He succeeded Darren Lehmann in May 2018 in the wake of the Newlands ball-tampering controversy with the team in flux. His first assignment saw the team thrashed 5-0 in an ODI series in England.

Australia’s fortunes in the Test format were too nosedived later in the year with series defeats against Pakistan and at home to India. With Langer growing comfortable in his role, Australia bounced back in 2019, winning an ODI series in India and then making the semifinal of the World Cup before retaining the Ashes. More success followed at home with home Test series wins over Pakistan and New Zealand followed by an ODI series win in England during the pandemic.

Australia though failed to make it to the World Test Championship final after losing a home series to India after a defeat at the Gabba. The first cracks in his role began to develop in the aftermath of that series with reports emerging of the players’ displeasure over his hard-nosed coaching style, an issue that needed resolution through high-level emergency meetings at Gold Coast.

The leadership group of the team, including former captain Tim Paine, Pat Cummins, and Aaron Finch, had further meetings with Langer after Australia’s T20I series defeat in Bangladesh following which Langer vowed to ease his coaching style after individual meetings with players.

Australia now has three weeks before their next assignment, a historic tour of Pakistan. Assistant coach Andrew McDonald, who was already arranged to lead the team for the forthcoming T20I series against Sri Lanka, has been confirmed to take over on an interim basis.