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Players will have a say in Justin Langer contract negotiations


Worn out by Langer’s intensity, volatility and micromanagement, then Test captain Tim Paine, white-ball captain Aaron Finch and then vice-captain Pat Cummins demanded an emergency meeting in August with Hockley and then Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings.

The players were further angered when Cricket Australia issued a statement before the meeting backing Langer, with Eddings desperate to keep Western Australia’s vote, so he could remain chairman. The ploy failed when WA voted with NSW and Queensland to ditch Eddings.

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With CA unmoved after failing to act on the players’ long-running concerns about the coach, Paine, Finch and Cummins then each confronted Langer individually.

This forced Langer to take a back seat, leaving the senior players with more autonomy and the day-to-day coaching to assistants Andrew McDonald, Michael Di Venuto and Jeff Vaughan.

Now Test captain, Cummins was non-committal about Langer’s future after the third Test in Melbourne.

“I think we’ll savour this victory today and continue the Ashes,” Cummins said on Tuesday when asked if an Ashes series victory following Australia’s first Twenty20 World Cup triumph would see Langer continue.

“I don’t think today is the day to speculate on that. We’ll all sit down together after this series or whenever his tenure is up. His contract is up for renewal in a few months, and we’ll deal with that then.”

Oliver reiterated that conversations about Langer’s future would start once the Ashes had finished in mid-January.

Australia have a busy schedule, with white-ball series against New Zealand and Sri Lanka in February followed by a tour of Pakistan in March that clashes with a Twenty20 tour of New Zealand.

“We haven’t set a specific timeline on that [Langer’s contract negotiations], we’ll work through the conversations and manage that as we need to. The international cricket schedule is ongoing,” he said.

Despite an increasingly hectic schedule complicated further by COVID-19, Oliver played down the likelihood of splitting the roles with separate Test and white-ball or Twenty20 head coaches.

“Our approach has been to create a team of staff that sit around the players and support them, with that group bringing a set of complementary skills and experiences that support the players across all three formats,” he said.

“The international cricket schedule is demanding. There’s no doubt about that. But certainly, our approach has been a sort of collective team approach in terms of the support that we provide the players.”

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Oliver expects the Pakistan tour to go ahead at this stage, despite security concerns and rising COVID-19 cases with the Omicron strain.

“We had a really constructive pre-tour visit to Pakistan, we were able to observe the recent West Indies tour there, that was positive,” he said.

“We’re working through with the PCB [Pakistan Cricket Board] our final assessment and preparation for that tour.”



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