Heavy is the head that wears the crown and the recent elevation of Justin Langer to Australia’s head coach must feel as though the crown was fashioned from the entire weight of the world.
Imagine being handed your dream assignment, only to find it landing in the wake of one of the most disgraceful incidents ever experienced in Test cricket.
Some might say that given the circumstances, Langer might have legitimately chosen to demur, but that would put the lie to the six years he devoted to raising cricket in Western Australia to the degree that the state has more contracted players on the current Cricket Australia list than any other state has.
That is quite an accomplishment in and of itself, as Western Australia’s entire population is under 2.6 million, compared to triple that number for NSW and double for Victoria.
It would seem that if there was a man willing to accept the challenge or replacing Darren Lehmann, that man is Langer.
In the truest sense of objective journalism, however, we should acknowledge that if Langer does not produce positive results, we will be amongst the chorus shouting for his head.
Our objectivity does supply some leeway in the form of time for Langer to come up for a solution to the absence of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, but none for the injuries to Australia’s top bowlers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins. Injuries are a normal part of the game, sanding the ball on camera is not.
As might be expected from a person as driven as Langer appears to be, he said all the right things around the circumstances he is inheriting.
“One thing I know is that if you want sustained success you need depth,” Langer said. “This next 11 months or so gives a couple of guys or a few people to even make us stronger and add to the depth.You can build the depth and then you’ve got some great players coming back in, that’s a pretty exciting time.”
Langer had better hope the depth is not over his head, or if it is, that he can hold his breath for a long time.