Trescothick: My pal Justin Langer can change Aussie culture but still play hard

By Peter Hayter

MARCUS Trescothick is backing new Australia coach Justin Langer to repair the battered reputation of his nation’s cricketers following the damage inflicted by the ball-tampering scandal.

Trescothick knew Langer as a fierce Ashes opponent but also as a firm friend and colleague in county cricket with Somerset.

Cricket Australia confirmed Langer’s appointment last week to replace the outgoing Darren Lehmann, who resigned in the wake of the bans handed out to his captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and opener Cameron Bancroft, following their admission of using sandpaper on the ball during the Cape Town Test against South Africa.

Langer has been charged with the task of changing the culture of their cricket, which has come under severe criticism Down Under and worldwide and is to be the subject of an investigation by the Sydney-based non-profit organisation The Ethics Centre, which “aims to promote ethical decision-making in business, government and everyday life”.

And Trescothick thinks the former Aussie opener, who credits his Catholic faith and Buddhist meditation for helping him through his own dark times, can help Australia win back friends as well as cricket matches.

“Justin is a battler and strong leader and very disciplined in his life,” says Trescothick. “He demands the highest standards and is a winner. But being a very principled man, he will not stand for anybody stepping out of line or trying to do things in the wrong way.

“I’m sure he will have a lot of control and he will want everything done in the right manner because he has been brought up to be respectful of the game, what it stands for and how it should be played, and to respect the people you play with and against.

“If any problems arise he will jump all over them and anyone causing them.”

Trescothick hopes Langer’s approach will also help relations between England and Australia which were at breaking point during last winter’s Ashes series.

“Back in the day in Ashes cricket, we knew when the occasion arose, we could have a beer or two together and at the end of a series we’d have a chat and a laugh over what had happened.

“I’m not really party to what’s been going on in recent times and I don’t know whether that has created a bad atmosphere but, when I played against great Aussie teams, they knew how to win and how to enjoy themselves at the right time, but they were always respectful.

“Justin was the same. He always knew there was more to life than cricket “

Trescothick stresses however that, under Langer, Australia will lose nothing in terms of competitive edge and acceptable onfield aggression, and that his players need to be ready to be tested.

“Maybe because he was not a natural, he knew he had to fight and scrap for everything he achieved in the game,” says Trescothick, “and if that meant volume of practice he’d put it in again and again. He claims he has chilled a bit now and that, since he’s gone into coaching, he has learned to be more understanding of individuals.

“But he will demand as much from his players as he demanded of himself. And that was a lot.”

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