Khawaja: Aussie cricketers stabbing Langer in the back

Aussie cricketer Usman Khawaja has turned on his own teammates with a public suggestion they are knifing coach Justin Langer.

It comes just days after cricket icon Matthew Hayden also launched a stunning attack on senior Australian players over last week’s drama that included a secret meeting between players and chairman Earl Eddings to decide Langer’s future.

Leaks from within the dressing room of players’ grievances with Langer’s reported demanding, stroppy temperament have trickled out since the Aussie summer of cricket and have been amplified by the dismal performances during the tours against the West Indies and Bangladesh.

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Khawaja now says it has been a bad look that the playing group — his former teammates — appear to be “stabbing” Langer in the back heading into the Twenty20 World Cup and the Ashes in Australia this summer.

“I think the more important and disappointing thing is the players haven’t stood up and chatted to JL about this a long time ago. Things are still coming out in the media,” he said on his official YouTube channel.

“How do you think JL feels? He probably feels like the guys in the team are stabbing him in the back. And that’s what it looks like.

“That’s why it’s so disappointing. It’s a really bad look and it’s something the group needs to sort out ASAP.”

Usman Khawaja has dropped a serious plot twist.Source:Getty Images

“It’s not always 100 per cent the coach’s fault. The guys aren’t performing, the players have to take ownership at some stage,” he added.

The 34-year-old famously butted heads with Langer over their different approaches to the game, but insists Langer is the right man to lead Australia, at least until the end of the 2021-22 Ashes.

Like Hayden, he says Langer’s fate should not be decided by the abysmal displays during the series against the West Indies and Bangladesh where Australia was without the majority of its best players.

Khawaja has not played for Australia since being dropped during the 2019 Ashes, but has not given up hope of representing his country again after his impressive performances during Queensland’s 2021 Sheffield Shield triumph in April.

The friction between Langer and Khawaja – as brutally exposed in Amazon’s The Test documentary series — led to speculation Khawaja’s international career was over while Langer continues to coach.

But the star batsman is telling a very different story.

“My relationship with Justin Langer is really good,” he said.

Justin Langer has a year to run on his contract.Source:Getty Images

“I still talk to him. I still text him here and there until this day. And that’s because we have a lot of respect for each other. Now people think I got dropped because I stood up to him and all these other things. It’s actually quite the opposite. I feel like I actually became closer with him and he actually gained my respect and I gained his respect because we had some really honest and open conversations together.

“One thing that keeps coming up with him is his emotions. The man wears his heart on his sleeve. He can be emotional. It’s probably his only downside. His greatest weakness is emotions because he rides the highs and rides the lows. But that’s only because he’s passionate.

“Unfortunately that’s the thing that is letting him down the most. But it comes from a very good place. And he knows it. He’s said he needs to improve.”

Last week Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley made a public show of support for Langer before reports emerged that he 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 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.”

Meanwhile, selection chairman George Bailey on Thursday also spoke out in support of Langer.

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