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Clarke predicts Langer’s end-date as coach



Former captain Michael Clarke predicts Justin Langer will step down as coach if Australia win this summer’s Ashes.

Langer arrived in Brisbane on Tuesday morning along with members of his victorious Twenty20 World Cup squad, having helped deliver the one trophy that had eluded Australia.

The former Test opener came under intense pressure to keep his job months earlier but was backed by Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive officer Nick Hockley.

Langer is contracted until mid-2022, with CA having shelved discussions about a new deal until the end of the five-Test series against England.

The West Australian is yet to give any indication he is contemplating an exit, having repeatedly referred to a Test series win in India as “Mt Everest” since being appointed after the Cape Town cheating scandal.

Australia are slated to play Test series in Pakistan and India next year, but Clarke believes Langer will be tempted to go out on a high note if Australia trump England on home soil.

“Knowing Lang, he won’t coach for the wrong reasons,” Clarke said during a 2022 T20 World Cup event at the SCG.

“If he thinks his job’s done then I think he’ll walk away.

“Because if we win the Ashes series, he’s achieved everything that he came in for.

“I’d love to see him walk away on his own terms, whenever that is.

“He should be extremely proud of what he’s achieved and I hope… we win the Ashes series then give him the option to do whatever he wants.”

Langer, under pressure to change his management style after receiving forthright feedback from disgruntled players, delegated more freely and took on a more low-key presence at the T20 World Cup.

“He has probably taken a big back seat and let a lot of other staff play their roles,” star paceman Josh Hazlewood said.

“Players as well, (Langer has empowered them) to take a bit more ownership.”

Hockley, who held crisis talks about the under-siege coach with on-field leaders Tim Paine, Aaron Finch and Pat Cummins during August, is certain to seek the opinion of players before potentially reappointing Langer.

Clarke said Langer’s strengths as a batter also made him a great coach.

“Justin’s the right guy to coach Australia… he’s tough, he has high expectation,” he said.

“He’s come out and openly said that he wants to get better, he wants to learn.

“Whatever he’s doing is working. We’re winning, we’re getting better as a team.

“This is probably a great opportunity for all of us to actually praise Lang’s style and what he’s been doing because he’s copped a fair share of criticism.”

© AAP



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