Justin Langer appointed Australia men’s cricket coach

Justin Langer appointed Australia men’s cricket coach

(CNN) – Cricket Australia has announced the appointment of Test great Justin Langer as coach of the men’s national team, drawing a line under a ball-tampering scandal that caused national outrage earlier in the year.

In a press conference to mark his appointment, the former batsman, who was capped 105 times for his country, said that while he was “excited” to take the reins, he acknowledged the weight of the appointment and the duty of the coach to repair the damage the scandal had done to the national team’s reputation.

“There will be some significant challenges ahead for our group, but there is a wealth of talent in Australian cricket that I know will do us all proud,” he said.

“I’m thoroughly looking forward to working with all players, as we strive for a successful men’s team across all formats, with the support and respect of the Australian public.”

The controversy saw the resignation of then-coach, Darren Lehmann and the suspension of three key team members — team captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and opener Cameron Bancroft — who were banned after admitting to cheating during the third Test match in the team’s series in South Africa.

Smith and Warner have been banned from playing for the national side for a year following their roles in the incident. Bancroft was given a nine-month ban for using sandpaper to rough the ball illegally.

During his remarks to the press Langer appeared to open the door for the three disgraced internationals to come back in from the cold.

“One of the key values for me is learning from the past, and respecting the past,” he said.

“We’ve all got areas we can get better at — if we can keep helping them and mentoring them … and if they meet the standards of the Australian cricket team then of course, they’ll be welcomed back.”

The 47-year-old coach’s willingness to welcome the players back into the fold is “not surprising given the ‘do the crime, do the time’ philosophy of sporting suspensions,” Roger Oldridge, a Network Ten cricket commentator, told CNN.

“Langer has been a mentor for Bancroft at state level for all of his career and Bancroft’s general approach the game, ball tampering aside, is very much in the Langer mould. We expect to see Smith return when available and Langer’s appointment is best case scenario for Bancroft fighting his way back.” He added that he thinks the public “won’t be as forgiving to Warner, even with time.”

Langer, who comes to the job with six years experience coaching Western Australia, had been tipped to take over from Lehmann at the conclusion of next summer’s Ashes tour and World Cup in England, Oldridge says.

“Langer has been earmarked for the role for many years with essentially a succession plan in place for him to replace Lehmann when his contract expired next year,” he told CNN.

The unforeseen circumstances of Johannesburg “merely hastened the process” by more than a year.

Langer, who was signed for a four-year term, will oversee at least two Ashes Series, a World Cup and World T20 tournament. He will officially begin his tenure later this month.

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