It is hard to make sense of what has just happened in Australian cricket. The coach of a team that has recently won the T20 World Cup, the Ashes, and had ascended to No. 1 in the Test rankings resigned after a token six-month contract extension offer amongst a whole heap of angst, whispers, and unanswered questions.
Justin Langer has started yet another 14 days of home isolation due to Western Australia’s Covid-19 border rules, having arrived home for the first time in six months, and he may have a sense of déjà vu.
He may well feel the same sense of anger and betrayal at what has unfolded as he did when he was locked up in an Adelaide hotel room in August last year.
This moment was always coming after what took place during those two weeks. A bizarre incident on the August T20I tour of Bangladesh, in which Langer was a minor player, led to reports that sparked a public referendum on his ability to coach the Australian men’s team. It led to private crisis talks with Australia’s three playing leaders, Tim Paine, Pat Cummins and Aaron Finch, and CA chief executive Nick Hockley and then chairman Earl Eddings.
The depth of concern among the playing group for parts of Langer’s coaching style ran deep. Deeper than the “faceless few” that Langer’s manager James Henderson referred to on Saturday. Deeper than just a New South Wales clique that many have accused of knifing him. Langer felt surprised and shocked by the feedback having thought he had worked through the previous issues that had been raised with him after the Test series loss to India.