Ricky Ponting could be key to solving the friction between Justin Langer and Cricket Australia as the former teammates reunite in media roles this summer.
Ponting and Langer were long-time Australian teammates and forged a strong bond that could prove to be influential in the coming weeks.
Australia heads into the first Test in Perth on Wednesday amid a potential firestorm triggered by an explosive interview Langer gave about his ugly exit as coach.
In the interview published by News Corp, Langer called out players he labelled as “cowards” for leaking against him to the media during his tenure.
Now Langer is set to play a central role on Channel 7’s coverage of the Test summer, which starts in the 52-year-old’s home state and could see him garner extra support.
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Ponting will be aside him and could prove to be the calming influence needed for the situation.
Ponting has said the pair are like “brothers” while Langer brought his former captain on as his assistant during the 2019 World Cup.
While working with Ponting as his assistant, Langer was reportedly less prone to the mood swings that put him on the outer with some players.
“Punter kept JL very even,” one current player told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
The publication reports that there is a wide belief the understanding between Ponting and Langer could be central to cooling any tension with current players.
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Also part of that 2019 coaching group was Brad Haddin who is concerned by how long the drama around Langer’s departure has been allowed to drag on.
“This is just a really ugly situation,” Haddin told Triple M. “This has been going on now for some time, this has been going on for over 12 months. That takes it to a new level. Obviously at some stage during his tenure he lost the change room. Whatever opinion you have on that, that’s happened, that’s fact.
“But to have this still going on after 10 months, this is a guy that’s played 100 Tests for Australia, he’s been a very successful coach. Yes it ended messy and by the looks of it there’s still a lot more to come out.
“I don’t know where they go from there, what they want the end game to be. Do we want to play this out in the public is it time they do get behind closed doors and really nut this out, because we all love the game and this hasn’t been going on for a couple of weeks. There’s obviously a lot of tensions there, and maybe this can be the catalyst to end it.”
In a positive step, Langer has rejected suggestions that he is at “war” with Pat Cummins and other members of the Australian cricket team after his interview.
He told 7News Perth: “Ironically, I spoke to Patty on Monday, we had a long talk about how the team was going, how he’s going, how his family’s going. And some of this rubbish is complete and utter rubbish.
“I’ve got so much respect for Patty Cummins, I think he’s a brilliant player, I think he’s an outstanding human being. So any thought there’s war between Patty and I could not be further from the truth.”