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November 29, 2019

Langer learnt a lot from Ashes defeat


November 29, 2019

SYDNEY: Justin Langer, the Australia head coach, has said that while losing the third Ashes Test in dramatic fashion at Headingley “made him sick”, it also gave him the “best 10 days” of his coaching career.

Australia retained the Ashes in England after winning the fourth Test in Manchester, but they had the chance to do it in the third game at Headingley, where they reduced England to 286-9 in the 359-run chase. However, Ben Stokes produced a remarkable innings, smashing an unbeaten 135 to take England past the finish line. Jack Leach stayed put with a 17-ball 1 not out, in an unbeaten 76-run stand with Stokes for the final wicket.

Langer admitted the result bothered him at that moment. “Because I’m an aware human, right at the time, it makes you sick. You don’t want to have that result,” he told Cricbuzz. “But then what happened next was, without doubt, the best 10 days of coaching I’ve ever been involved with. Personally and collectively because you had to find solutions and find ways of getting the boys back up and refocused and bring them back together and face the issues front-on.

“When Ben Stokes hits those winning runs, it was probably the worst day of my coaching career. But I look back, and see I’m not even saying it 10 years down the track but now, it ended up being the 10 best days, and then we go on to retain the Ashes 10 days later.

“If you’re open to it, your darkest days are when you learn your best lessons. It was actually a fact, when I got dropped in 1993 and got dropped in 2001, and the start of my coaching journey with Australia. The tough times have been the best parts of my last 18 months. I’ve learnt so much about leadership, people and life in those times. That’s why I love coming to work every day.”

Langer undertook the coaching job in a tumultuous period for Australian cricket, right after David Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft were handed suspensions in 2018. In collaboration with skippers Tim Paine and Aaron Finch, the 49-year-old successfully handled the aftermath of the ball-tampering incident, and also helped Smith and Warner fit back into the squad earlier this year after their one-year ban.

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