The spectre of Justin Langer is out of its cage once again following Australia’s humiliating defeat in the First Test against India.
The Aussie XI, coach Andrew McDonald, selectors and captain Pat Cummins have all come under fire in recent days as the tourists fell apart on and off the field.
Now two words from Aussie Test great Damien Martyn have taken things to a new level. The West Australian batter’s simple, two-worded tweet sparked a flurry of responses.
In a tweet that has since been deleted, Martyn on Saturday night wrote: “#justinlanger”.
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He is one of many Aussie sporting commentators to have raised the subject of Langer’s unceremonious exit from his position in the wake of Australia’s capitulation in Nagpur where the host nation won by a record innings and 132 runs.
The result came with a series of unwanted records as Australia crumbled for 91 in its second innings.
It’s the second lowest total Australia has had against India and the lowest total Australia has had against India in India.
The loss was also Australia’s third biggest loss in India in history, bettering only an innings and 135 run loss in Hyderabad in 2013 and an innings and 219 run loss at Eden Gardens in 1998.
Aussie legends Mark Waugh and Allan Border were scathing of Australia’s performance as well as the selections made and the clear failure to execute plans.
Border said the Australians “should be embarrassed by that performance”.
It is the manner at which the Aussie side crumbled in its second innings particularly that has left some crying out for Langer to be recognised for the so-called fight and resilience he was vocal about instilling inside the Aussie dressing room.
Former Brisbane Lions captain Tom Rockliff wrote on Twitter the coach, selectors and team management should also be embarrassed.
He wrote Langer would have faced more criticism than McDonald has received, were the former opening batter still in the top job.
“The outrage? The performance would of happened but no one coming for McDonald? Langer would of been hung out to dry,” he wrote.
Australian journalist and radio host Chris O’Keefe wrote on Twitter: “Good call sacking Justin Langer. What an embarrassment”.
Cricket journalist Huw Turberville posted on Twitter: “All that sitting deep in the crease and playing the Indian spinners on the back foot… I’m sure Justin Langer wouldn’t have coached that”.
Aussie sports commentator Michael Maney wrote on Twitter: “Justin Langer was implementing backbone, fight and resilience into our National team, then the little softies got their feelings hurt and wanted Uncle Andrew to tell them it isn’t fair, and pat them on the back. Fact: you reap what you sow”.
Cricket Australia and Langer mutually agreed to part ways last February after players expressed concerns over his coaching style and Langer rejected a reduced contract extension.
It came as a surprise, given Australia had won the T20 World Cup for the first time and retained the Ashes with a dominant 4-0 series win over England at home.
Langer’s exit at the end of last summer came after concerns were raised surrounding his intense coaching style, something which is also addressed in the series.
Pat Cummins said that Langer was “brilliant when we needed him in those initial years” but also conceded in the first episode that some players were “walking on eggshells” at times.
Cummins and the rest of the Aussie dressing room were slammed by Aussie cricket legends at the time with Mitchell Johnson labelling the current skipper “gutless” when he failed to support Langer in the days before his messy exit.
The coup was viewed by many as player power gone mad with players rejecting Langer’s famous intensity and demanding style of leadership.
One can only assume Langer, like Border, would not have enjoyed the sight of Steve Smith giving a thumbs up to Indian bowlers after they beat the bat in the second innings.
Border criticised how friendly the Aussies were, calling for Smith and his teammates to rediscover their ruthless streak, without going overboard.
“Play with a harder edge. I mean, we’re giving blokes the thumbs up when they’re beating us outside the off stump,” Border said.
“What the hell is going on? That is just ridiculous.
“Don’t go stupid but Australia play hard-nosed cricket.
“We’re even giving someone thumbs up who’s beaten you outside the off-stump, bloody hell.”
There are expected to be several changes made to the Aussie side for the second Test, which begins Friday.
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