Langer in line to take Warriors job
Justin Langer. Photo: Vince Caligiuri
CRICKET Australia is bracing itself to lose a key member of its coaching staff on the eve of the major Test series against South Africa, with Justin Langer tipped to take over as coach of Western Australia.
The Australian hierarchy won't stand in the way of Langer, the team's batting coach, if he is named as a replacement for Lachy Stevens, despite the awkward timing.
Stevens quit, citing personal reasons, before Australia's three-Test series against the Proteas, in which an unproven top order will confront the world No. 1.
The Western Australian Cricket Association held a board meeting to consider the coaching position on Wednesday night, and if Langer gets the job he could start as soon as next week.
Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting endorsed Langer's credentials for a job that will be bigger than the mechanics of coaching; the successful candidate will have to rebuild a broken culture.
Stevens' departure left WA with no coach and no captain and a problem with player discipline that came to a head during the Perth Scorchers' recent Champions League campaign.
The state also has little hope this season of breaking a title drought dating back to 2004.
Langer was unavailable for comment on Wednesday and a CA spokesman said he was focused on the first Test against the Proteas, starting Friday.
"I must admit I love having him around here a bit more," Ponting said. "He is a great mate of mine and someone who had a big impact on the way my game had turned around in the last six or eight months.
"He's worked tirelessly and endlessly on trying to get my technique back to where it needed to be, to be a good international player.
"Hypothetically, if he happened to leave, it would be a great loss for the Australian cricket team but I think it would be a great gain for the West Australian cricket team."
Langer, a resilient opener who averaged 45.27 during his decorated 105-Test career for Australia, is a legend in WA cricket ranks
The 41-year-old is a former captain of the Warriors, is the state's highest run-scorer in four-day cricket and is renowned for his tireless work ethic.
WA cricket is in desperate need of a shake-up after a horror start to the summer. The Warriors have copped three-day thrashings in each of their three Sheffield Shield games this season, while a boozy night out in South Africa overshadowed the Scorchers' Champions League campaign. Amid the turmoil, Marcus North stood down as skipper, with Adam Voges tipped to replace him for the rest of the season.