Australian cricket team coach Justin Langer's "headmaster-like" approach is not going down well with a number of players in the national team, with allegations of players "being bombarded with statistics and instructions about where to bowl" being levelled against him.
According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), the players have become drained by Langer's "intensity and mood swings" on top of having to live in a bubble for months while playing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Host Australia recently fell to a 1-2 Test series defeat to India for a second consecutive time in two years, despite winning the first Test by a handsome margin. The third Test in the series was drawn while the fourth Test ended with a first defeat for Australia in Brisbane in 33 years -- and the first ever win for India at the venue -- in the longest format of the game. The hosts had got into good positions on both occasions before the Indian batsmen took the upper hand on the final day.
The SMH report says that some of the senior players in the team are frustrated by Langer, who is also part of the selection panel for the team, allegedly micro-managing the bowlers. "They say that has extended to bowlers being bombarded with statistics and instructions about where to bowl at lunch breaks, including during the fourth and final Test against India at the Gabba," the report said.
"Dressing room sources say that over a gruelling summer, Langer's management style wore thin with some players, who on top of having to live in a bubble for months on end say they have become drained by his intensity and mood swings," it said.
SMH quoted sources as saying that Langer's approach and difficulty coping with pressure was "increasingly incompatible with a team consisting largely of experienced players in their late 20s or 30s".
However, Langer denied the allegations, even stating that he never goes to any of the bowlers' meetings.
"I never talk about statistics to the bowlers, ever. I don't go to any of the bowlers' meetings. That's what the bowlers' coach is meant to be doing," Langer was quoted as saying by SMH.
"I don't do any of that. I never, ever, ever speak to any of the bowlers about any of that sort of stuff. And the learnings of the last few months are I should start looking at that more," he further said.