MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Selection panel chief George Bailey has denied Justin Langer’s claims that a lack of backing from senior players and support staff was responsible for the former opening batsman’s departure as Australia coach.
Langer quit the post on Saturday despite leading Australia to victory at the Twenty20 World Cup before handing England a 4-0 defeat in the Ashes when he was only offered a six-month contract extension until October’s Twenty20 World Cup finals.
“I feel for him,” Bailey told reporters on Tuesday. “Absolutely no one deserves to have the saga that has been played out as publicly as it has been.
“Clearly he didn’t get the length of contract extension offer that he was after so it hasn’t been ideal, but I don’t subscribe to the fact that it was individuals that were key to making the decision.”
Speculation over Langer’s position at the helm of the team had been growing for months amid reports of player discontent over his coaching style.
He claimed in his resignation letter to Cricket Australia Chief Executive Nick Hockley “several senior players and a couple of support staff don’t support me moving forward”.
Langer was appointed in 2018 in the aftermath of a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa and Bailey praised the work he had done to regain public support across all formats of the game.
Test batsman Usman Khawaja said test captain Pat Cummins and one-day skipper Aaron Finch should come out to clear the air.
“There’s obviously a lot of ex-players talking about the playing group,” Khawaja told reporters.
“I think at some stage, one of the captains, Finchy or Patty, will probably have to stand up and answer some questions just to get rid of all the speculation that’s going around and to just put an end to it all.”
Khawaja sympathised with Langer calling him a “legend of a bloke”.
“He brought humility back to the Australian team … I know what we played like before he was coach and I know what we played like when he was coach,” added Khawaja.
(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong and Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Stephen Coates & Shri Navaratnam)