CPL 2021 | Team Preview: Will change in captaincy and name push St Lucia to the title this time?
22 Aug 2021
Usman Khawaja, the stylish Australian left hander, who currently does not find a spot in the Australian national team has backed under-fire coach Justin Langer. Langer has found himself in hot water after several media reports alleged that the head coach has strained relationships with multiple stars of the Aussie cricket team. Interestingly, Khawaja, was dropped by Langer back in 2019 midway through the Ashes series, a saga that has been well documented by the Amazon documentary 'The Tests'. Back then, Khawaja had voiced similar concerns with the head coach and had told that players were "walking on eggshells" around him.
Khawaja has said that the responsibility of losses can not be alone pinned on the coach, and feels that players are actually backstabbing Justin Langer by not backing him.
"How do you think JL feels? He probably feels like the guys in the team are stabbing him in the back and that's what it looks like and that's why it's so disappointing,” said the Queensland captain.
"It's not always the coaches. The guys aren't performing, the players need to take ownership at some stage. It's not one person so there needs to be some sort of perspective put around this,” he further added while speaking on his YouTube channel.
Khawaja, who has played 44 Tests for Australia after making his debut from 2011 to 2019, said that Langer is passionate about everything and rides on emotions, which is probably his weakest point.
"He [Langer] is a very passionate person. Loves Australian cricket, wants the best for everyone, wants to only succeed. He's driven by winning, driven by winning the right way and all the things he brought after sandpaper gate were focused on those things,” said the 34-year-old.
"One thing that keeps coming up is his emotions. Yes, the man wears his heart on his sleeve. He can be very emotional. It's probably his one downside, his greatest weakness is his emotion,” Khawaja further added, saying that the players and the management need to sort the issue out as soon as possible for the betterment of Australian cricket.
The Pakistan-born went on to reveal that he wasn’t dropped because of Langer and that he actually has a great relationship with the coach to date.
"People thought I got dropped because I stood up to him, it's actually the opposite, I actually got closer - he gained my respect and I gained his, because we had some really honest and open conversations. I still talk to him, still, text him till this day because we have a lot of respect for each other,” he said.
Earlier last week, Cricket Australia and Test skipper Tim Paine had to put out a statement backing Langer after it was made evidently clear in the Australian media that the players were losing confidence in the 50-year-old coach especially after the 4-1 drubbing each by Bangladesh and West Indies in the five-match T20I series that Australia played against both teams.