Justin Langer speaks about the tampering saga

I nearly died - Justin Langer

blank Umid Kumar Dey
blank Umid Kumar Dey
I nearly died - Justin Langer

Newly-appointed Australia coach Justin Langer has spoken about the sandpaper gate ahead of the ODI series against England. The Aussies are going to engage in a battle against England later today in a series consisting of five ODIs.

Recalling the incidents that happened in South Africa, Justin Langer stated that as the events of the saga unfolded, it killed him as a lover of the Australian cricket team. He also added that watching Bancroft tamper the ball was unbelievable to him.

“When that moment [the ball-tampering] happened, as a past player and lover of Australia, I nearly died,” Langer said.

“Once upon a time, the opposition didn’t like us because we played really good, hard cricket – we were very skilful and we won a lot of games.

“It’s easy to dislike the opposition if they’re good, but there have been too many whispers in the past 12 months or so about the abuse on the field, or dare I say, the side playing like spoilt brats.

“When I saw it was Cameron Bancroft, my heart nearly came out of my chest. I couldn’t believe it.”

There is a great deal of rivalry between Australia and England, which is why it is only natural to expect that the two teams will engage in sledging during the course of the series.  

Langer, meanwhile, confirmed that Australia will continue to sledge the opponents – but in a respectful manner while avoiding abuse as there “no room” for such a trait.

“In Australia, [sledging] it’s almost a term of endearment,” he said.

“If I play cards with my 12-year-old daughter Gracie, then we sledge each other, or call it banter or call it chat, whatever you want. I’ll play golf with my mum and dad and go, ‘nice sledge, nice sledge!’.

“But we don’t abuse each other, there is no room for abuse anywhere. I don’t think it is a trait anyone would be proud of, abusing someone.”

The sandpaper saga was a black mark in the history of Australian cricket as both Steve Smith and David Warner – who were captain and vice-captain at the time – were banned for a year while Cameron Bancroft was inflicted with a nine-month suspension.

The instigator of the plan was David Warner, whose actions have not only led him to be suspended and lose his vice-captaincy but also took away the possibility of him being considered for a leadership role with Australia ever again.

He also got a lot of heat from the Australian press and fans, but Langer defended him saying that during his time as a player, he “loved” playing with the left-handed opener and is open to bring him to the team after his ban ends.

“David is someone that, personally, when I’ve played with him, I’ve loved playing with him,” he said.

“If we can have David back, understanding the way we want to play our cricket going forward, then there is no reason that he won’t be back and be really successful.

He also added that he “can’t wait” to have Steve Smith back with the team.

“Same with Steve. I’ve been in regular contact with Steve since this has happened. He’s been really supportive, I bounce things off him most days. I can’t wait to have him back playing.”


Picture credit: Getty Images


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