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Gillespie rules himself out after 'heartbreaking' Langer call, CA director breaks silence over board’s controversial actions

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8th February, 2022
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Jason Gillespie says he doesn’t want to coach Australia’s cricket team while describing Justin Langer’s messy exit from the job as “heartbreaking”.

Gillespie, who is South Australia’s coach and a former coach of English county sides Sussex and Yorkshire, had been touted as potential replacement for Langer.

“I am not putting myself up for any job,” Gillespie told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s nice to be thought of in that way but it’s certainly something I am not even thinking about entertaining.”

Gillespie has reached out to former Test teammate Langer, who quit on Saturday as Australia’s coach. “Everyone has been pretty disappointed with how it has all played out – pretty heartbreaking to see, to be honest,” Gillespie said. “But unfortunately, it is what it is. Justin has handled himself very well … the decision has been made and whatever decision they make, they make.

“But I think everyone is of the opinion that things probably could have been handled better. He is OK. He felt he had something to offer Australian cricket. Cricket Australia felt differently. So move on, that’s part and parcel I suppose of being in professional sport and being a coach.”

Gillespie praised Langer’s four-year tenure as national coach. “Justin will go on and do wonderful things that we all know he can,” he said. “He has done a fine job with Australian cricket the last four years and we all wish him really well because he will succeed in whatever he puts his mind to.”

Meanwhile, Cricket Australia director Mike Baird would not be drawn on whether the decision to not offer Justin Langer a long-term deal was unanimous but said it was CEO Nick Hockley’s idea to only offer a six-month extension.

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Speaking on 2GB Radio on Tuesday morning, Baird became the first board member to comment publicly on Langer’s acrimonious exit since the coach was informed of their decision last Friday.

Baird did not deny that player input was part of CA’s decision to only offer Langer a deal until the end of the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia at the end of the year but said the move towards a new coach was commonplace in sport even though it is extremely rare for a mentor to receive such a short extension with no hope of continuing in the role beyond that.

Hockley fronted the media on Saturday after Langer had announced his resignation. Hockley and high-performance chief Ben Oliver had conducted the review into Langer’s tenure before proposing their recommendations to the board.

“Justin Langer is an incredible Australian,” Baird said. “He’s proved himself on the cricket field in ways that have inspired a generation, me included.

“I think all of us had that position but that doesn’t mean that it necessarily translates into a coach.

“Clearly he’s had some success, clearly the four years he’s overseen there’s been significant, not just on-field but transformation in terms of some of the cultural challenges. He’s done a good job.

“The CEO has obviously run a process and it’s not about the last four years, it’s about the next four years.

“He’s made a decision considering all stakeholders, yes the team but also staff and a whole range of other people and made a decision that it’s time to transition, which happens in sport – you transition to new coaches.

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“It’s disappointing what played out shouldn’t but it shouldn’t diminish who Justin Langer is and what he’s achieved for Australian cricket.

Senior assistant coach Andrew McDonald has been named interim coach and after overseeing the five-match T20 home series against Sri Lanka, the former Victorian all-rounder will be in charge when the Australian Test team leaves later this month for its first tour to Pakistan since 1998.

Ashton Agar was the only addition from the extended group of players that won the Ashes with Mitch Marsh, Josh Inglis and Mitchell Swepson also named in an 18-man squad.

West Australian paceman Jhye Richardson is the only significant name missing. His fitness is being managed after injuries suffered during the Ashes.

The squad is: Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, Steve Smith (vc), Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner.

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