October 28, 2021

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Agar throws ‘100 per cent’ support behind Langer ahead of T20 World Cup

Ashton Agar says he would be “absolutely shattered” if he was subjected to the public scrutiny that has surrounded Australian men’s coach Justin Langer. 

Player unease about Langer and his approach has ignited intense speculation about his future as national coach, with his contract running through until mid-2022.

Langer’s posting of a motivational message on LinkedIn made headlines this week, but the issue hit its crescendo in August when Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive Nick Hockley publicly backed Langer to remain coach for the Twenty20 World Cup and Ashes series.

Hockley, CA chairman Earl Eddings and on-field leaders Tim Paine, Aaron Finch and Pat Cummins even met to discuss “the elephant in the room”.

Langer and Australia’s T20 World Cup squad will assemble later this week ahead of their tournament opener against South Africa on October 23.

Agar said he and teammates know Langer was listening to feedback and would do whatever he could “to suit the needs of the team”.

“You can’t help but respect that and we’ll back him in 100 per cent at this tournament and going forward,” Agar told reporters from United Arab Emirates.

“I respect him a lot for that.

“We just have to have a bit of understanding around how horrible that experience [in recent months] would have been and respect someone coming out of that and still doing their best.”

Langer said he felt like “Superman” earlier this year, having responded to player feedback and tried to clear the air prior to Australia’s T20 tours of West Indies and Bangladesh.

But Australia — minus Pat Cummins and several rested stars — recorded consecutive lopsided T20 series losses.

Langer faced intense media scrutiny while stuck in an Adelaide hotel room for a fortnight upon his return to Australia.

“If that happened to you or I, we would be absolutely shattered,” Agar said.

National selectors included leg spinners Adam Zampa and Mitchell Swepson alongside Agar in their squad for the T20 World Cup, which will be played in United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Agar is upbeat the trio could be squeezed into the same XI during the upcoming tournament.

“It’s all dependent on the surfaces that we get,” Agar said.

“We’ve seen in the IPL (Indian Premier League) now that the wickets are getting a little bit tired, we’ll probably get some fresh wickets for the World Cup.”

AAP

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