Australian cricket head coach Justin Langer during a training session at the SCG in Sydney, Friday, January 11, 2019. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING
Australian cricket head coach Justin Langer during a training session at the SCG in Sydney, Friday, January 11, 2019. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING

Aussie great’s startling Langer rumour

Aussie cricket great Geoff Lawson says he has heard rumours and speculation that Aussie coach Justin Langer wanted to remove bowling coach David Saker from his first day on the job.

The former Aussie paceman also shared some alarming speculation around the new direction of the Aussie coaching staff since Langer replaced former coach Darren Lehmann in the top mentoring role last year.

Lawson told Sky Sports Radio he has heard rumours former bowling coach David Saker may initially refused a first request from Langer to vacate his position.

It didn't happen quickly," Lawson said of Saker's eventual decision to step down at the end of the Aussie summer.

"The rumour was as soon as Langer took over, he wanted Saker out. He asked for his resignation and didn't get it.

"The story was he (Saker) was asked for his resignation and he said, 'Na, I've got a contract, I'll be staying thank you very much'."

The former England bowling coach's decision to end his three-year position as a senior assistant in the Aussie cricket team's coaching set-up last week was followed by legend Ricky Ponting's unveiling as a part-time coach that will focus on Australia's ODI and Twenty20 batting heading into this year's ICC Cricket World Cup in England.

Former Aussie bowling coach Troy Cooley has returned to the team as Saker's replacement on a short-term role for the upcoming limited overs series against India and Pakistan.

However, Cricket Australia has said they are yet to make a decision about Saker's long-term replacement.

Lawson said there is speculation that the coaching shake-up under Langer is the result of the former Western Australian coach trying to promote his former deputy at the Warriors and current Tasmania coach Adam Griffith to the position of bowling coach.

"That was a theory going around," Lawson said.

"Saker is a guy who is going to stand up in the dressing room and says what he thinks and maybe Langer doesn't like that. Maybe he wants to be surrounded by yes men, but that's all speculation."

It comes after Lehmann on Monday said Langer and Saker did not have any form of falling out and were on good terms when Saker decided to walk away.

"I think they actually got on alright from what I understand," Lehmann told Macquarie Sports Radio.

"It's just a case of David having enough of all the travel and all of that. You're away 300 days of the year. They've decided just to move on and go in a different direction. I think it was pretty amicable to be fair.

"It's just part and parcel of professional sport. I think he's a really good bowling coach and I think he'll get snapped up by someone else."

Saker had been the national bowling coach since 2016.

He boasted plenty of knowledge about UK conditions, having previously worked as England's bowling coach before returning home to mentor Victoria.

 

He doesn’t seem too daunted by it.
He doesn’t seem too daunted by it.

But Langer was keen to bring in a fresh perspective for this year's marathon tour of England, during which Australia will defend both the World Cup and Ashes, and Saker accepted it was time to go.

"We shook hands and had a hug a day after the Test (in Canberra)," Langer said last week.

"We agreed it's the right time to head in a different direction in the best interests of the team.

"He and I have had a lot of conversations over the last six or nine months, so it's not really a surprise.

"In a perfect world it would have been cleaner maybe at the end of it, but the world's not always clean and works exactly as you want it to work. I'm all good with it."

Saker had previously spoken of his desire to be a potential successor to Darren Lehmann in 2017, when he filled in as head coach during a ODI tour of India. It's unclear how much Saker's relationship with his charges deteriorated this summer, if at all, but Mitchell Starc notably had credited NSW's bowling coach Andre Adams for helping to end his form slump.

Australia's fast bowlers had plenty of knockers during their Test series against India, while Saker was publicly critical of their approach at the SCG. Saker revealed during that match that "aggressive" and "animated" discussions took place behind closed doors.

"That's not like me usually ... I know I was not the only one. JL (Langer) wasn't happy. The bowlers know that," Saker said.

"The bowlers wanted one thing. Tim wanted one thing ... you could see there was some confusion."

- with AAP



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