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Australian cricket in good hands with Langer, says Lehmann

Australian cricket in good hands with Langer, says Lehmann

SYDNEY: Australian cricket must move on from the damaging ball tampering scandal and the team could not have found a better coach to help them achieve that than Justin Langer, his predecessor Darren Lehmann has said.

Langer was named on Thursday as the replacement for Lehmann, who resigned in the wake of the Cape Town scandal even though he was cleared of wrongdoing by Cricket Australia.

Former captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner are serving year-long bans while Cameron Bancroft has been suspended for nine months over the incident.

“I’m just so pleased that Australian cricket is going to be in such good hands,” Lehmann told “He’s got the best job in the world, and I know it’s a job that I’ll miss because I loved every minute of it.

“But this is a time that Australian cricket needs to move forward and they couldn’t have a better person to lead them now.”

Langer, a gritty opening batsman who played in some of Australia’s greatest teams, has been appointed coach of the Test, one-day and T20 sides for the next four years.

He will also be part of a players’ review aimed at improving a team culture and conduct that former players and media pundits have long criticised as boorish and out of step with public expectations.

Lehmann, who took Australia to the 2015 World Cup title, consecutive Ashes victories at home and to the top of the world Test and ODI rankings, said Langer had to find a formula to be successful playing the right way.

“He spoke passionately about how he wants them to play, and he’s going to find the right balance that works best for that group,” said Lehmann. “There’s no doubt that the toughest time in that job is when the team’s not winning.

“As he said in his media conference, winning away from home is the ambition for every team, but winning at home is also paramount. Winning away is everyone’s aspiration, but if you don’t win at home that starts to present its own challenges.”

Meanwhile, Warner said on Saturday he was humbled by the support received following the cheating scandal that rocked the sport, with the feisty opener refocused on his family.

Warner was considered the mastermind behind the plan to use sandpaper to tamper with the ball during the third Test in South Africa in March.

Speaking for the first time since an emotional press conference to apologise last month, Warner told Australian newspaper NT News he was using his time away from cricket to reconnect with his family.

“I think the biggest thing for us has been when you are in a routine you can get caught in a bubble — cricket, hotels, packing your bags, coming home,” he said.

Family activities like children’s swimming lessons and gymnastics classes are now priorities, he said.

“I am making time now and it is worthwhile,” Warner added. “I’ve missed that part where the kids run up to the gate saying ‘Mummy and Daddy are here’ and I am really enjoying and embracing that.”

While Smith was charged with knowledge of the ball-tampering plot, Warner was charged with developing it and instructing Bancroft to carry it out.

Warner was also barred from ever holding a leadership role again in Australian cricket, and had ‘resigned to the fact’ he may never play for his country again.

But both Cricket Australia and Langer have opened the door for a return of Smith, Bancroft and Warner.

The former vice captain said the support he has received during the fallout from the scandal had been ‘humbling and overwhelming’.

“Sometimes with our society something has to happen for the worst for people to come out and show a lot of support,” he said. “I think I’ve learned a valuable lesson in this myself for the support I have been given to be on the front foot to help others.”

Smith announced on social media on Friday that he had returned to Australia from overseas, seeking to win back trust after the scandal.

Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2018

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