David Warner claims Cricket Australia’s decision to only offer Justin Langer a six-month contract was a “kick in the face”, while admitting the coach lost several key players in the team.
The build up to and fallout of Langer’s exit as coach last year is a key focus of the second season of The Test documentary, which will be released on Friday on Prime Video.
Langer’s departure at the end of last summer came after Cricket Australia (CA) took on board concerns over the coach’s intensity at the end of his initial four-year deal. He was offered a new six-month contract with no chance of an extension, which he promptly rejected and resigned.
Langer has since made clear his frustration over the situation, speaking out in several interviews and columns before the start of the Test summer.
Warner’s comments come after after Tim Paine also labelled the short contract “embarrassing”, “unprofessional” and “a disgrace” in his autobiography, claiming CA took the easy way out knowing Langer would not accept it.
“He wanted to keep coaching. It was a bit of a kick in the face to offer him a six-month contract,” Warner said in the documentary.
Regardless, Warner also laid bare the situation within the squad. “He lost a fair few players, and probably the wrong players,” Warner said.
The documentary shows the players speaking candidly on the Langer issue, with captain Pat Cummins saying this week he is hopeful it can provide context and take some of the heat out of any lingering public anger over the matter.
In the first episode of the series, Cummins says players were “walking on eggshells” around the coach, while Usman Khawaja reveals others were afraid of Langer.
Nathan Lyon admits he struggled with Langer’s up-and-down nature, with the former Test opener known for riding every ball. Players, however, also make clear Langer’s significant influence in the rebuild from the ball-tampering scandal and the revival of the national team’s public image.
But, Cummins is adamant the decision to move on from Langer should not have come as a shock.
“The Ashes, it all came to a head because his contract came up,” Cummins told viewers. “There was nothing out of the blue. We had spoken about a lot of these things over the previous 18 months to two years.
“He was brilliant when we needed him in those initial years.”
Cummins and other players reasoned the team had wanted to create a more level player-driven environment after the 2020-21 home series loss to India.
“The team had changed a lot over a four-year period,” quick Josh Hazlewood said. “We were probably in need of a different support staff and different coach, as opposed to four years ago when JL started.”