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Justin Langer's no lay down misere to replace Darren Lehmann

18th April, 2018
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Darren Lehmann has quit as head coach. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
Expert
18th April, 2018
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It came as no surprise the West Australian newspaper trumpeted that Justin Langer will be named the new Australia cricket coach tomorrow after a Cricket Australia board meeting.

It’s just not going to happen.

Langer is certainly a top contender, but there are other considerations like Jason Gillespie, Ricky Ponting, and Brad Haddin, so CA isn’t in a hurry to make a decision.

One thing for sure, once CA gets cracking the new coach sure won’t be from overseas.

South African Mickey Arthur has been the only overseas Australian coach, and that ended in tears with ‘Homework-gate’, which saw Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson, Usman Khawaja and James Pattinson suspended from a Test in India in 2013.

That prompted the then-Australian captain Michael Clarke to describe Watson as a tumour in the team, and Johnson later went on to say the team became toxic under Clarke’s captaincy.

Clarke was dead-set wrong, but Johnson was right on the money, and that was the atmosphere Lehmann took over with the sacking of Arthur.

The new coach will take over in another tense atmosphere since Lehmann has pulled the coat a year early after the ball-tampering fiasco in South Africa.

With no Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, who are suspended, and a new captain in keeper Tim Paine, the incoming coach will have his hands full.

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That elevates Ponting in the pecking order.

Currently he’s coaching the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL, and drawing praise for his coaching methods, especially in the way he’s changed England opening batsman Jason Roy into a world-class twenty20 performer.

Ponting has that happy knack, but Langer and Gillespie have the same claim to fame, leaving Haddin as the outsider of the quartet.

That’s not to say Haddin wouldn’t be a success given the chance, but his coaching CV has been limited to fielding at this stage, and that’s not enough for the top job.

Langer has a big problem.

He’s very much the family man, and while he’s living in hometown Perth and so successfully coaching the Western Australian teams in all formats, the thought of being away from home for 10 to 11 months a year may not suit his lifestyle.

The Australian coaching commitment is all-consuming, living out of a suitcase.

If that’s the case, Ponting for the Tests and either Langer or Gillespie for the one-dayers could surface.

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Or a different mixture of the talented trio.

But Gillespie must be slotted in somewhere after his outstanding successes overseas.

He first coached Zimbabwe in 2010 before taking Yorkshire from second division into the top flight in 2011 ending with County Championship success in 2014 and 2015 that put him in line to coach England.

Eventually went to another Australian in Trevor Bayliss, but Gillespie ran him close.

He’s now head coach at Sussex, but there’s no doubt the county would release him if he won the Australian job.

These are tense times, requiring the correct decisions.

Cricket Australia can count itself fortunate to have such quality available, and eager to move forward.

Ricky Ponting, Justin Langer, and Jason Gillespie are all positive people with big shoulders.

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They’ll need them.