Australian cricket icon Matthew Hayden has launched a stunning attack on senior Australian players over a reported meeting to decide the future of coach Justin Langer.
Hayden on Thursday night went on radio to defend his former teammate and opening partner before turning a flamethrower on players reported to be disgruntled about Langer’s attitude.
A dismal showing on Australia’s recent tours against the West Indies and Bangladesh, which resulted in Langer’s troops winning just one game out of five, has amplified the criticised leadership methods of the 50-year-old.
Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley made a public show of support for Langer on Wednesday, but it has now emerged that he is reported to have contacted senior players directly just hours later in an attempt to mend the growing rift between Langer and the dressing room.
The Australian first reported Hockley and Chairman Earl Eddings organised a phone hook-up with senior members of the team to discuss the playing group’s relationship with Langer.
The report indicates “productive” conversations are taking place as a result.
Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer.Source:Getty Images
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the players involved in the meeting included test captain Tim Paine, Aaron Finch and Pat Cummins.
Hayden received the news with scorn on Thursday night, taking a shot at players and Hockley for information of the saga being leaked to the public.
“A lot of the content coming out about this is downright disrespectful to a bloke that’s played over 100 Test matches,” he said in an interview with SEN’s The Sporting Capital.
“Even this facetious discussion amongst senior players last night that obviously Pete Lalor (The Australian’s chief cricket reporter) was onto about deciding Justin Langer’s future. Umm, hello! what about meeting about the fact you’re No. 3 in Test cricket and No. 3 in ODI rankings, and No. 6 in T20 rankings?
“Waste more energy and time thinking about that than discussing a bloke who’s a legend of the game and so passionate about Australian cricket and culture.
“It reeks of the lyric, ‘sixth months in a leaky boat’. So many holes are now coming out.”
He said Hockley also needs to take responsibility for the team’s recent performances and what he claims is a lack of support for Langer.
He said of Langer: “He’s got a fight on his hands with Jolimont Street (Cricket Australia’s headquarters in Melbourne) and how it is that they’re controlling their assets.
“Leave him alone. Let him do his job and for god’s sake listen to what he is saying. I’m telling you, if you don’t listen to him, you’re going to have the same results and you’re going to have to listen to someone else that is basically going to say the same thing until you get the message.”
Justin Langer has a year to run on his contract.Source:Getty Images
Hayden was even more disappointed with the actions of modern players, suggesting they are failing to uphold the culture of the Australian cricket team first put in place by legendary Allan Border in the 1980s.
With the rise of the IPL and global Twenty20 tournaments, Hayden says players now have options outside of Australian cricket and are choosing to cast aside the years of development and resources that Cricket Australia expended to make them professional players.
“I personally think there’s a lack of accountability and a lack of control in terms of options for players and where it is that their futures lie,” he said.
“Now players have got such lofty expectations to focus solely on what they have to do.”
He says he “has a problem with” players rejecting the team-first mantra that has formed the backbone of the Australian cricket team for so many years.
Meanwhile, selection chairman George Bailey on Thursday also spoke out in support of Langer.
The Tasmanian said the players had to start producing results for the reported disharmony to disappear.
“As a group, if you look over the last 12 months, the Australian cricket team, I don’t think we’ve quite played the best cricket or certainly as good as we potentially could have,” Bailey said.
“We are constantly looking to get better. JL took over at a pretty challenging period of time and since then there have been a lot of permutations and change happen in the way that group is. There’s no doubt that’s why you periodically do full reviews of your set-up and look at specific areas you can target to get better.
“I don’t how often we’ll need to keep harping on that. If we perform well, these things tend to die away a little bit.”
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