Adam Gilchrist has praised World Cup-winning coach Justin Langer for being the ‘steady hand’ of Australian cricket and for sticking to his values through a turbulent year and ‘public humiliation’ .
After another tumultuous period in Australian cricket, Langer must once again bring together the team which has been torn apart by the sudden, controversial and sorry resignation of captain Tim Paine.
It will be the second rebuilding mission under Langer’s watch, with his general Paine leading Australia back from international embarrassment before his own misdemeanor – a private matter that happened before the coach took the reins – ended the wicket-keeper’s tenure just as England arrived. Australian shores ahead of their long-awaited Ashes offensive.
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All the while, Langer is just emerging from a whirlwind six months, which saw the gritty former southpaw come within an inch of being let go before overseeing Australia’s maiden World Cup triumph. T20 in the United Arab Emirates last month.
Langer’s intense man-handling ways and mood swings almost caused him to lose the squad.
For some, Langer was just the man needed to instill tough love in modern cricketers, who had risked Australia’s reputation on the international stage by carrying sandpaper onto a cricket pitch with the intention of change the nature of the ball.
But for others, it was a coach whose intensity impacted the team’s high performance.
Nor have recent results suggested that his methods worked.
A rift with senior executives and management allowed Langer to stay and months later he helped Australia to World Cup glory.
Talk to Foxsports.com.au on the eve of Ashes, former captain Gilchrist paid tribute to his former teammate.
“Extremely proud of him,” Gilchrist said.
“I think he’s an absolute champion, he’s a person of the highest quality who values things like respect and loyalty and places a high value on all those aspects of life and the values of life that should be really important, and around which strong relationships are built, and that’s how he sees his role as a coach, is to build relationships with the players.
“He’s not just a coach, but he hopes to be someone in their lives who can be a strong supporting influence in what they’re trying to achieve, whether on or off the pitch.
“I think he behaved in an incredible way considering the public humiliation that seemed to be inflicted on him.
“Thanks to him and thanks to everyone who has seemingly sorted out all the issues and hopefully can now focus on positive cricket, and the first evidence of that was at the World Cup.”
While the events of the past fortnight have rocked Australian cricket, Gilchrist believes the team and organization will benefit from the decision to stay with Langer this winter.
“Yes, there are a lot of changes to this team, to the setup and there seem to be endless issues with Cricket Australia in how they are seen to run things,” Gilchrist said.
“Having a steady hand and a calm right now and consistency, in the form of Justin, and that’s probably what he’s also learning as part of his development, makes sure he stays calm in the situations, and I think everyone will benefit from that.”