MELBOURNE: Australia captain Tim Paine has rallied behind Justin Langer as head coach after senior players Aaron Finch and Pat Cummins held ‘robust’ discussions with the former Test opener in recent days.

Langer’s role has been under the microscope in the wake of heavy T20 series defeats and amid media reports that some players had become disaffected by his intense coaching style.

Test skipper Paine said he and other senior players had cleared the air with Langer and that the coach was not to blame for the team’s recent setbacks in the West Indies and Bangladesh.

“It was important that myself, Aaron Finch, Pat Cummins and the leaders of Australian cricket got around him, discussed things that needed to be discussed and then got around him and supported him to move forward,” Paine said on radio station SEN Hobart on Friday. “The last few days we’ve really been able to galvanise around him, to have some really robust discussions on where we want to take this cricket team, what we expect of him and what he expects of us.”

Langer’s former Test opening partner Matthew Hayden launched a spirited defence of the coach and blamed the players for leaking team issues to the media.

“A lot of the content coming out about this is downright disrespectful to a bloke who played over 100 Test matches,” he told Melbourne radio station SEN.

Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2021

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