New Australia coach Justin Langer has shared his anger and disbelief over the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
Speaking to former England captain Nasser Hussain on Sky Sports, ahead of Australia’s opening ODI against England, Langer said the previous side played like “spoilt brats”.
“Once upon a time, the opposition didn’t like us because we played really good, hard cricket — we were very skilful and we won a lot of games,” Langer said.
“It’s easy to dislike the opposition if they’re good, but there have been too many whispers in the last 12 months or so about the abuse on the field, or dare I say, the side playing like spoilt brats.”
The former Western Australia coach also revealed the sense of shock he experienced upon seeing how events unfolded during the third Test match in Cape Town.
“When that moment happened, as a past player and lover of Australia, I nearly died,” he said.
“And when I saw it was Cameron Bancroft, my heart nearly came out of my chest, I couldn’t believe it.”
Langer has now been tasked with overhauling the team’s culture, which clearly drifted in the wrong direction under former coach Darren Lehmann.
However, what the former opener won’t do is muzzle his team, or allow them to be push overs on the field.
He defended the right of the Australian team to continue sledging the opposition.
“It depends how you define sledging. In Australia, it’s almost a term of endearment,” Langer said.
“If I play cards with my 12-year-old daughter Gracie, then we sledge each other, or call it banter or call it chat, whatever you want. I’ll play golf with my Mum and Dad and go, ‘nice sledge, nice sledge!’
“But we don’t abuse each other, there is no room for abuse anywhere. I don’t think it is a trait anyone would be proud of, abusing someone.”
New coach Langer happy with rookie bowlers
Justin Langer says he has been delighted with the showings of his rookie fast bowlers and admits some tough decisions will have to be made ahead of Australia’s opening ODI against England.
With Andrew Tye rested against Middlesex on Saturday, Billy Stanlake was given an opportunity to impress and succeeded, taking 2-45 and constantly unsettling the batsmen with his pace.
Kane Richardson took three wickets with Michael Neser grabbing two and Jhye Richardson taking one.
Langer confirmed Ashton Agar would start ahead of Nathan Lyon at The Oval on Wednesday but admits the make-up of the pace attack is yet to be determined.
“Traditionally in one-day cricket we have had four specialist bowlers and maybe got 10 overs out of Marcus (Stoinis) and the spinners, but the captain has plenty of options,” he said.
Giant Queenslander Stanlake certainly made an impression at Lord’s and Langer said he’s also been impressed with his Bulls teammate Neser.
“Billy Stanlake is six foot ten or whatever and he bowls fast,” he said.
“He’s a very very bright prospect obviously, and over time he’ll get stronger in his body and get fitter.
“He’ll be able to play a lot of cricket. He’s a huge talent.
“The one I am really impressed with is Michael Neser. He reminds me a bit of Andy Bichel and Michael Kasprowicz.
“Great people in the team, always smiling, and they just compete. My daughters like the BBL and they like Michael Neser because he smiles all the time.
“He’s a really good person to have in the team and could easily play in the first game.”
Langer also said batting talent could also be a deciding factor in the make-up of the bowling attack.
“For the bowlers, if you can bat a bit at the end, that’s why England have been so successful … their batting depth all the way down. I think having that depth is important,” he said.