The alleged rift between some Australian cricketers and the national team’s head coach Justin Langer has been pinned down to a difference in payment of fees for the documentary “The Test”.
“The Test” is an eight-episode documentary which closely traced the Australian team in the aftermath of the ball-tampering controversy at Cape Town in 2018 to the exhilarating Ashes in 2019. Justin Langer courted immense admiration for his role and even got the most screen-time in the series.
According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald, Justin Langer had personally cut a deal of AU$ 40,000 with the streaming platform Amazon Prime for the series.
However, the amount was less than half of the AU$ 81,000 that the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) managed to get for each player, irrespective of their screen-time. Even 2-T20Is old Jack Wildermuth, who appeared for a few seconds in the series, got paid equally to the likes of Tim Paine, Steve Smith and David Warner.
Justin Langer recently admitted that the discrepancy riled him and he should have reacted better.
“You are absolutely correct in what you heard, and if I look back at that moment in time and with hindsight I should have reacted differently,” Langer told SMH.
The development comes to light in continuation of emerging unease in the Australian team, especially with regards to the head coach.
Reports in the recent past have claimed players are unhappy with Justin Langer’s “mood swings” and “macro management.” Reviews of the team environment and an honest acknowledgement from Justin Langer over possibly changing his style have followed as well.
The spotlight once again fell on the former opener after it emerged that he was involved in a heated argument with a Cricket Australia journalist in Bangladesh last week in front of players and staff.
Tim Paine and Cricket Australia back Justin Langer
Despite the speculation, Test captain Paine recently came forward to support Justin Langer. He said the Australian leadership group had a few “robust conversations” with Langer and are now ready to move forward and support him.
“We’ve had some really robust conversations amongst our leaders in the last few days and we’re really looking forward to the next six months with JL. It was important that myself, Aaron Finch, Pat Cummins and the leaders of Australian cricket got around him, discussed things that needed to be discussed, and then got around him and supported him and looked to move forward. There’s no doubt the week has been difficult for him,” Paine told SEN radio.
Cricket Australia have also rallied behind him, with CEO Nick Hockley saying Langer has done an “incredible job” and confirming his contract until after the T20 World Cup and the Ashes.