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Ashton Agar launches staunch defence of Justin Langer amid coach’s cryptic post

Australian spinner Ashton Agar has leapt to the defence of Justin Langer after the coach uploaded a cryptic post to his social media accounts following a “horrible” 2021 which included a player-led call for him to change his ways.

Leaks from the team bubble emerged after the Test series loss to India and the matter came to a head before the squad departed for the West Indies tour in July, as a two-day talk-fest gave the players a platform to air their concerns over Langer’s style of leadership.

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The coach, who has been in charge of all three formats since 2016, was told his intense approach to coaching was waring thin and he needed to adjust his style, a confronting time which Agar said would have been “horrible” for Langer.

As Australia gears up for its T20 World Cup campaign, Langer uploaded the message of what could only be described as self-support to his LinkedIn account, highlighting the need to “stay true to yourself”.

It raised eyebrows in the Australian cricketing community, and seemed to be an indication the coach wouldn’t be swayed by outside criticism.

Agar, who is with Langer and his T20 teammates in Dubai, said he hadn’t seen his coach’s post.

But having worked with Langer throughout his career in the Western Australia set-up, as well as with the national team, the spinner believed the message in the post summed up Langer perfectly.

“He’s got strong values and morals as a person, and he sticks to them unwaveringly,” Agar said.

“Knowing him over 10 years, not a lot has changed there and I respect him a lot for that.

“In terms of all the criticism and everything that he’s copped, to still be here, to listen to the feedback, to be dragged through the media while you’re in quarantine, all of these different things; if that happened to you or I, we would be absolutely shattered.

“But speaking to him recently, he’s doing really well.”

Langer’s post, based on a section of Najwa Zebian’s book, Mind Platter, referenced not being deterred by detractors.

“A wise man once said: Don’t give them a taste of your own medicine. If they lied, let their medicine be honesty,” it read.

Australia v India
Camera IconAgar has the utmost respect for Langer for how he’s coped with the recent criticism. Phil Hillyard Credit: News Corp Australia

“If they played with your emotions, let your medicine be maturity. If they broke you, let your medicine heal you. If they made you cry, let your medicine make them smile. These remedies of yours may take years to work, but they work. And they last.

“So be patient. Stay true to yourself. And remember this: it is better for people to value you for who you are, not who you pretend to be. Who you are lasts a lifetime. Who you pretend to be changes like the change of seasons.

“Don’t be afraid to be yourself, even if it means removing yourself from lives you want to be in. You are, no doubt, worthy of being valued for who you are. So be who you are.”

Agar said Langer was a man who was always true to himself, no matter what, which had to be respected.

“I think everyone respects that he has listened and he will do whatever he can to suit the needs of the team,” he said.

“So you can’t help but respect that, and we’ll back him in 100 per cent in this tournament and going forward.

“I just think we have to have a bit of understanding about how horrible that experience would have been, and respect someone coming out of that and still doing their best.”

Australia’s T20 World Cup campaign begins on October 23, when the Aussies face South Africa at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

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