Darren Lehmann, Justin Lehmann, Australia, Cricket Australia, Australia ball-tampering
Darren Lehmann and Justin Langer during their playing days (Image courtesy: Getty)

Justin Langer is the right man to take Australian cricket forward post the ball-tampering scandal, believes his predecessor Darren Lehmann. On Thursday Langer was named Lehmann’s replacement as Australia’s coach, who resigned from the position in the wake of the infamous ball-tampering scandal during the Cape Town Test in March. 

Lehmann was cleared of any wrongdoing by Cricket Australia after their investigations. However, Steven Smith and David Warner were stripped from captaincy and vice-captaincy respectively. Both earned a yearlong ban and would not be able to hold any leadership position in Australian cricket for two years. Cameron Bancroft, who was caught rubbing sandpaper on the ball, has been suspended for nine months over the incident.

Lehmann also said that Langer has the best job in the world.

“I’m just so pleased that Australian cricket is going to be in such good hands,” Lehmann was quoted in a report in cricket.com.au. “He’s got the best job in the world, and I know it’s a job that I’ll miss because I loved every minute of it.

“But this is a time that Australian cricket needs to move forward and they couldn’t have a better person to lead them now.”

Langer was a gritty opening batsman during their successful march in the 2000s. He carries a massive reputation as a coach for Western Australia and Perth Scorchers. Langer will also be a part of the players’ review that is aimed at improving the team culture and player conduct of Australian that has been criticised for a while now.

Lehmann had a successful run as Australia’s coach, taking them to No.1 spots in both Tests and ODIs. Under Lehmann, Australia regained The Ashes in 2014-15 and 2017-18. He also coached them to a World Cup glory in 2015.

When Justin Langer was accused of cheating, well almost
When Justin Langer was accused of cheating, well almost

Speaking more on Langer’s press conference from Thursday, Lehmann said, “He spoke passionately about how he wants them to play, and he’s going to find the right balance that works best for that group. There’s no doubt that the toughest time in that job is when the team’s not winning.

“As he said in his media conference, winning away from home is the ambition for every team, but winning at home is also paramount. Winning away is everyone’s aspiration, but if you don’t win at home that starts to present its own challenges.”

‘Lovely bunch of guys’

Lehmann further lauded Langer for backing Smith, Warner and Bancroft.

“He (Langer) has got a really good group of players and they’ll play in an exciting way, and I’m really looking forward to watching them do that,” Lehmann said.

“They’re a great bunch of blokes, all of them.

“I loved them and, and JL will love working with them.

“They all bring different attributes, but they are all such good professional athletes and as he’ll already know they’re so much fitter and stronger than any players from our era.

“They’ve got a great work ethic, they train bloody hard to get better and he’ll just need to keep teaching them the game of cricket, that’s the one area that all of us always need to improve on.

“We just have to get behind them as a nation, support the new coach and captains, but also support those guys that aren’t playing as well.

“I was really pleased that Justin made mention of those three guys (Smith, Warner and Bancroft) who aren’t playing at the moment because they are, and they’ll continue to be, valuable players for the future of Australian cricket.

“He didn’t close the door on anyone, and I think that’s an important message.”

The Langer-coached Australia have the challenge of preventing the side from first ever home series defeat against India later this year. Then Australia defend their World Cup in 2019 and then there is The Ashes in England and World T20 in Australia.