I will never, ever apologise for that : Justin Langer on serious approach to coaching
Perth : Former Australia head coach Justin Langer said he will “never, ever apologise” for the serious attitude he brought to the men’s team in his nearly four-year tenure at the helm. Langer was made the head coach after the Sandpapergate saga in 2018 and under him, Australia won the Men’s T20 World Cup as well as the Ashes in the 2021/22 summer. Langer had to step down from the role before Australia departed for an all-format tour of Pakistan, saying in his resignation letter that he had no longer had the support of several players and board members while rejecting a short-term extension to the role. “It’s really ironic, well not ironic, but it’s the way of the world, I guess.
On finishing with the Australian team, there was a talk I was too serious, too intense for some of the younger players. But that’s what I learned. There’s a famous incident where in the last Test (against India in Brisbane, 2021) I told Marnus Labuschagne not to walk out with a toasted ham and cheese sandwich in his hand, and it became headlines,” said Langer in an interview to Kim Beazley, Governor of Western Australia.
“You imagine Allan Border or Steve Waugh letting us … it would not happen because we were walking out to battle and representing our country. We were walking out to win and make Australians proud of what we were doing, and I will never, ever apologise for that. It was how we were brought up and I wouldn’t be here now if I hadn’t have been brought up like that. It was an awesome grounding with great leadership and mentors,” added Langer, the former Australia opener.
After his exit from the Australia men’s set-up, Langer is now in the process of writing a memoir, which he calls ‘a form of therapy’. “Right now it’s a form of therapy, writing because at the time I was angry, I was deeply hurt by the media. I’ve got thick skin but more so how it was affecting my family because they were reading things. But my writing and my reading, my balance, and perspective in life now is one because of the great people I’ve met, and lots of reading.”
“The day after I resigned I had to come back to Perth and I had to have two weeks’ quarantine. And I was living in this back room. I woke up the next morning and there’s a quote up on the wall which I’d written years ago, and it says ‘what the caterpillar sees as the end of the world, the master sees as the butterfly’, and that was like this trigger.” Further explaining what his memoir will be based on, Langer remarked, “I started writing this book called The Lion and the Butterfly.
Lion’s about leadership and the butterfly’s always transforming, and when things don’t go well you’ve got a choice, you either quit, or you learn and you get better. I read that and I thought ‘OK, I’m not going to feel sorry for myself any longer, let’s get on with it.” “As I sit here now I’m so happy. I’ve got time and I’ve got a choice and I’m not on timetables over and over and I’m seeing my family. I’ve got some scars from the last 12 months, but I’ll work through those, that’s life.
In my darkest hours is when I’ve learned my greatest lessons. Butterfly sounds a bit theatrical, but that’s where you learn.” Langer signed off by hinting at moving on from cricket for the first time in his association of three decades with the game. “I wasn’t happy the way it all ended, but I’m really proud of what we achieved. So I just wonder now whether it’s time for a new chapter and doing something else, because I love the game of cricket but I’ve been doing it (for a long time) … I’m excited to see what opportunities come up next.”