justin langer
Justin Langer (Getty Images)

For Australia the year 2018 has been a memorable one and not for good reasons. In the first quarter, they were hit by ball-tampering scandal which left a impact in its wake.

Three Australian cricketers were banned, leadership roles were changed, head coach resigned, a culture review was undertaken which termed Cricket Australia (CA) as ‘arrogant’ and ‘controlling’.

They haven’t had a good time in the field either – losing Test series against South Africa and Pakistan, losing two bilateral ODI series to England (home and away), losing to Pakistan in a triangular T20I tournament and then clean swept by the same opponent in a three-match bilateral T20I series in the UAE recently.

“It’s sad, isn’t it? Everyone seems to be at each other, there’s lots of criticism. But we’ve got such a proud history of Australian cricket,” Langer was quoted as saying by Cricket.com.au on Saturday. “We’ve had a few hiccups along the way, in not just in the last six or 12 months, but over our history. But we should be so proud of Australian cricket.

Langer, who took over as the head coach after Lehmann’s resignation, expressed his helplessness at the talks swirling around Australian cricket at the moment. “I guess that’s just the way of the world. It’s not just in cricket, it’s in sport in general. It’s probably in most newspapers or in most things you read in the news. That’s OK. There’s nothing we can do about it.

He wants his players to ignore the comments being made in the media and focus only on winning matches to win back the trust of their committed fans. “What we can do is we can prepare well, we can play good cricket, and be entertaining and put on a good show so Australians can start smiling a bit. One thing sport can do and the Australian cricket can do is put smiles on faces rather than everyone throwing stones and shooting guns at each other.”

Langer was speaking at Perth as a grandstand was named after him on Saturday ahead of the first ODI against South Africa on Sunday. The Southern grandstand at the Perth Stadium will be known as Justin Langer Stand.

“I’m a little bit embarrassed by this. When you start out as a little kid you don’t set out to have a grandstand named after you. It’s an unbelievable feeling. Most importantly my family and my friends are so proud of this and at the end of the day when I started playing the game it was to make my mum and dad proud.

Paying tribute to his late mother who died last year after battling cancer, Langer said, “I know my mum, who isn’t here with us anymore, she’d be balling her eyes out. It might start raining a little while because my might be crying down when she sees this.”