The principles of Justin Langer and what he brings to Australian cricket
Justin Langer often tells a story about the turning point in West Australian cricket, shortly after he became coach in 2012.
It came in the hours following a Sheffield Shield game against South Australia at Adelaide Oval, when the Warriors claimed an incredible final-day victory.
The result meant a WA team which was at the bottom of the ladder earlier that season was a big chance to snatch a place in the Shield final if it defeated Queensland a few days later.
That night, after the victory against the Redbacks, the squad went out for a team dinner in Adelaide.
They were scheduled to fly home to Perth early the next day to begin preparing for the important match against the Bulls.
But instead of getting an early night at the hotel after dinner as Langer did, a group of players — including Mike Hussey and Adam Voges — decided to head out to continue celebrations.
Drawing a line in the sand
“They had a massive night,” Langer told the ABC earlier this year.
“I remember sitting at the front of the bus [to the airport] and it didn’t feel right. I thought we had all gone home about 10:30 or 11:00pm.
“Vogesy and Michael Hussey and some of these guys are some of my good mates, but I knew they had made the wrong choice by having a massive night out.
“Instead of just letting it go, I asked them to get their running shoes, shorts and t-shirts on and run up and down a grass hill in Adelaide for about 40 minutes.
“They were worried they were going to miss the flight, but I didn’t give a rat’s because we had to draw a line in the sand.”
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Langer will often talk about mateship and how important relationships are in cricket.
He values traits like loyalty, discipline, integrity and physical and mental toughness above everything else.
And if you go against the principles he values, there will be consequences, even if he considers you a best mate or “brother”, as he often refers to people in his inner circle.
Character over cover drives
There were three basic principles Langer preached in his tenure as coach at the WACA — keep things simple, respect alcohol and use common sense.
These evolved over his time at the WACA Ground, but the one constant for the former Test opener was helping his players develop as people.
There are few people more passionate about the game of cricket, but if there is something Langer is even more passionate about, it is seeing players become better versions of themselves on and off the field.
He often uses the mantra “character over cover drives”.
And he is a ferocious reader who meditates every morning and uses that time to make some of the big decisions in his life.
Langer also encourages his players to embrace mindfulness techniques and read about philosophy and self-development.
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For those who have worked alongside him in recent years, it is clear what he will prioritise inside the Australian dressing room.
“He will want people to buy into this. Better people first, great cricketers second and that is where he will start,” WACA CEO Christina Matthews said.