Steve Smith doesn’t expect Australia to adopt a two-coach model any time soon, declaring Justin Langer has done a fantastic job and has his full support.
The aftermath of Australia’s Test series loss to India has been dominated by rumblings about Langer’s intense style and player discontent.
It has reignited discussion about whether Langer is under the pump because he is being asked to do a pressure-laden job that should ideally be shared by two people.
Cricket Australia considered appointing two coaches after the tearful resignation of Darren Lehmann, who regularly pondered the sustainability of his post given its unique strain and stress.
But CA ultimately decided that one man should lead a much-needed cultural revamp after the sandpaper saga, backing Langer to handle the burden while hiring Ricky Ponting and other freelance consultants for various series.
Should CA’s board decide to embrace a split of Langer’s portfolio then the most likely scenario would be Andrew McDonald stepping up as coach of the Twenty20 side.
Langer is sitting out this month’s T20 tour of New Zealand, when his right-hand man McDonald will coach Australia, but there is no suggestion at this stage that a permanent change could be on the cards.
Smith, speaking two days after Marnus Labuschagne declared his “love” for Langer, can’t see it happening.
“That kind of thing has been floated for a while, for different formats and teams … around the world, not just in Australia,” Smith said after winning the Allan Border medal.
“It would be interesting. Justin has my full support at the moment. He’s doing a terrific job and he has done for a few years.
“I can’t see it changing any time soon.”
Smith, asked directly whether he wants Langer to be in charge for next summer’s Ashes, was emphatic.
“Absolutely,” he said.
“Since I’ve been back (from the year-long suspension), he’s done a great job. He always wants to get better and that’s all you can ask of anyone.
“Of course there’s always things you can get better at.
“One thing that hasn’t been spoken about a lot is how tough a job it is to coach an international team, particularly given we’ve been bubbles for long periods of times.”
Usman Khawaja’s comment that players were “waling on eggshells” around Langer – and the coach’s far-from-thrilled response – was a major talking point of Amazon’s documentary The Test.
Smith noted that Langer genuinely wants feedback from his players.
“That’s really important as a coach. Sometimes it can be difficult,” he said.
“He’s great around the group.”
Meanwhile, Smith played a straight bat to the latest question about his potential return to the captaincy.
“It’s not in my hands, it’s with the selectors and the board. As I’ve said previously, Tim (Paine) and Finchy (Aaron Finch) are both doing terrific jobs,” the star batsman said.