Justin Langer’s fate remains unknown after the Cricket Australia board met on Friday but were unable to end six months of speculation about his future in the head coach role. After a marathon seven-hour meeting in Melbourne, the board failed to reach a resolution on the main item on the agenda.
“Cricket Australia can confirm that the CA board met today and part of that meeting involved significant discussions about the men’s head coach Justin Langer’s contract,” a statement on Friday evening read. “We will now enter confidential discussions with Justin and the outcome will be announced as soon as possible.”
Langer’s contract was due to expire in June, and it was always Cricket Australia’s intention to address his future once last year’s T20 World Cup and the recent Ashes series had been completed.
Both trophies were banked, but despite his on-field success, Langer’s old-school, direct style of man-management has been under scrutiny since a meeting between senior players and CA CEO Nick Hockley last August.
During Langer’s time as coach since May, 2018, Australia have won 15 of 27 Tests, including retaining the Ashes in England for the first time in 18 years. In all, he has been the second most successful coach in the country’s history, behind only John Buchanan with wins in 55.5% of Tests.
It was after last summer’s second home defeat to India in three years that the pressure first began to mount on Langer. White-ball series losses in West Indies and Bangladesh only added to that, before the situation seemingly reached boiling point last August amid claims he was too intense.
It prompted high-powered meetings between senior players and cricket administrators, with Langers agreeing to loosen his grip on the team. Australia went on to claim their maiden T20 World Cup title in what players claimed was an enjoyable team environment.
The recent 4-0 Ashes domination that followed gave Langer hope of retaining his position, before separate meetings between players, administrators and the coach last week.
Friday was expected to be D-Day for the coach, however Hockley’s statement now gives them three weeks to sort the issue before the Australian team leaves for the tour of Pakistan, which was rubber-stamped on Friday.
It will be the first time Australia’s men have travelled to Pakistan since 1998.
Hockley said: “I would like to thank the PCB and both the Pakistan and Australian governments for ensuring the tour will proceed for the first time in 24 years. This is a historic occasion and important for the global growth and health of the game.
The first of three Tests begins on 4 March, with three ODIs and a one-off T20 to be played over the course of a month in Pakistan.