Cricket Australia has chosen Justin Langer as its new head coach, hoping the 105-Test veteran will lead the national team out of the fallout from the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa. Langer takes over for Darren Lehmann, who resigned after the embarrassing ball-tampering episode in March that saw Australia’s two leading players captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner banned by Cricket Australia for 12 months.
The new coach inherits a team that sits third on the International Cricket Council Test rankings, fifth in one-day internationals, but one that has lost much of the support it had from the Australian public. The 47-year-old Langer played for Australia for nearly 20 years, scoring 7,500 runs, including 23 centuries. Langer had been the head coach of Western Australia state and the Perth Scorchers Twenty20 team since November 2012, during which time he was lauded for his player development skills. Lehmann quit as coach in the days after the March 24 ball-tampering incident during the third test in Cape Town, which resulted in Smith and Warner handed the year-long bans and being sent home from the tour. A player who tried to use sandpaper to alter the surface of the ball was given a nine-month ban.Langer will coach Australia in all three formats of the game and will start for a four-year term that includes two Ashes series, a World Cup and World T20 tournament.