Justin Langer’s position as national coach is delicately poised, with Cricket Australia telling him he may have to reapply for his job during a heated meeting on Friday morning.
Foxsports.com.au can exclusively reveal Langer met with CA chief executive Nick Hockley and head of performance Ben Oliver in Melbourne to discuss his future in the role.
Among a variety of sensitive discussion points — which included Pat Cummins’ influence on the final decision — Langer reacted angrily when the possibility of him re-applying for the job was raised.
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Langer’s position was not only would he not re-apply and go up against a field of candidates with inferior resumes, but that his record warrants a multi-year deal after winning the T20 World Cup and the Ashes in the space of three months.
Senior NewsCorp cricket writer Robert Craddock last Friday reported Langer’s future “could hinge on whether he would consider a short-term deal”.
Foxsports.com.au understands Langer would reject a 12 to 14-month arrangement, which would take in three sub-continental tours, a home T20 World Cup, next summer’s Test opponents South Africa and the West Indies, plus the 2023 Ashes.
A short-term contract would be viewed by Langer as a trial period, despite having spent four years in the job, which is why he reacted so strongly when it was raised in the meeting.
In Friday’s showdown, which took place just hours before Langer attended Marvel Stadium to watch his former BBL club Perth Scorchers win their fourth title, the former Test opener did not hold back.
When the subject of re-applying for the job he has held for four years was raised, Langer’s reaction was particularly pointed, according to sources familiar with the top-secret meeting.
Early in the discussion, Cummins’ name was raised and Langer was quizzed on the strength of his relationship with the Test captain.
According to players, the pair have shared a productive working partnership this summer, but on multiple occasions the New South Welshman has failed to publicly endorse a contract extension for Langer.
Limited overs captain Aaron Finch, who will also be consulted by CA, echoed a similar sentiment to Cummins, praising Langer’s recent work but refusing to endorse a new deal.
There is a view among players that Cummins simply tried to calm the waters this summer but his perspective has not changed: It’s time for a change of coach.
In Friday morning’s meeting, Langer expressed confidence that his willingness to listen last winter and change his intense coaching methods had been well received by Cummins and the players.
Either way, Cummins — whether he accepts it or not — looms as the key to Langer’s future. Neil Maxwell, who is Cummins’ manager, was also raised in Friday’s discussion.
Oliver, a long-time confidant of Langer and the third person in Friday’s meeting, is understood to be leaning towards recommending a contract extension, though it’s unclear how long for.
CA’s board will meet this week but it’s unclear when they will make the final decision on Langer, who’s exasperated by the time it’s taking and the public pressure he’s under following a highly successful period across two formats.
It’s understood Langer wants his contract situation to be sorted well before the Pakistan tour. If there is still no certainty, there is a strong change Langer will not go at all.
Langer had taken charge of the team after the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in 2018. His current contract is due to end in June.