Debasis Sen, Sydney: Justin Langer may have just beginning to feel the pressure as the coach of the Australian team. The Tasmanian has been dragged into a controversy following the omission of Glenn Maxwell from the upcoming test series against Sri Lanka. Langer though dismissed such rumours terming it as “careless whispers.”
Maxwell’s omission has re-ignited debate about his treatment, with the focus centred around the all-rounder’s decision not to pursue an England county contract last year in the belief he would be chosen for an Australia A tour of India. That tour served as the key selection trial for the Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, for which Maxwell was also overlooked. Langer on Thursday said he had “zero knowledge” of any advice at the time to the 30-year-old about where and when he should play.
Later in the day, CA confirmed that before Langer’s appointment as head coach in May a planning email had been sent to Maxwell about his winter schedule and that he had been encouraged to take a break between the end of a Twenty20 tri-series Zimbabwe on July 8 and the Australia A tour of India several weeks later. Such emails were a common part of discussions with players, according to CA, but in no way inferred guarantee of selection.
Maxwell has said he was under the impression he would be picked for the ‘A’ tour if he rested instead of taking up a chance to play a stint of red-ball cricket in England.
On Thursday, Langer was pressed on whether a directive had been issued to Maxwell about county cricket.
“Are you certain that’s what happened? Are you certain that’s what happened?” Langer asked on two occasions.
Pressed again if he was aware of it happening, Langer slammed the suggestions “careless whispers” before offering an apology after getting riled up.
“Glenn is crystal clear from me and the selectors what he needs to do to get back in the Test team,” Langer said. “He’s shown he is brilliant around the group in white-ball cricket. There’s been some reports about personality. It is literally false. It’s not true. All the conjecture about it … that’s all part of the noise.”
With plenty of water under the bridge since then, Maxwell has now signed a county deal with Lancashire which will allow him to play a first-class fixtures as well as six one-day matches ahead of the World Cup.