Infotainment Factory: Langer finally explains 10-year white lie

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Friday, 25 January 2019

Langer finally explains 10-year white lie


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Coming towards the end of the first Australian cricket summer with the rebuilding men's national team under his watch, Justin Langer has given a revealing interview to Good Weekend about the fine line he's walking to fix the damage done by last year's ball-tampering saga.

Among other things it explores the paradox in Langer's task to regain the trust of the Australian people in the custodians of their national sport and the defining moment in his career as a player, after surviving to build a massive partnership with Adam Gilchrist when he should have been back in the pavilion after nicking a delivery from Wasim Akram.

This is a brief excerpt from the story by Jane Cadzow:

Langer, who replaced (Lehmann), has had to try to rebuild a demoralised team missing its two best batsmen, the suspended Smith and Warner. The larger goal has been to salvage cricket's battered reputation. At his first media conference after his appointment, he made clear that he intended to restore honour and integrity to the game. Breaking – or even bending – the rules would not be tolerated. "Everyone knows the difference between right and wrong," he said.

In fact, cricket's moral code can be confusing to outsiders. Is it wrong to stay at the crease when you know – as Langer knew in Hobart all those years ago – that you should be on your way back to the change-room? Of course not, he assures me, sipping his flat white. "I will never apologise for not walking in cricket. That's not cheating." Umpires inevitably make mistakes, he points out, and those errors work both ways: batsmen are sometimes dismissed when they shouldn't be; at other times, they are let off the hook. Accepting a lucky break when it comes your way is only sensible.

Another question. When people talk about Langer's heroic stand at Bellerive Oval, they tend to overlook the fact that for more than a decade he denied having edged Akram's ball. To reporters, teammates, even his father, he insisted that the noise heard around the ground was made by his bat handle as he swept and missed. Not until 2010, during the telecast of another Hobart Test match between Australia and Pakistan, did he breezily admit that bat and ball connected. Was it wrong to withhold the truth for so long?

Langer tells me he did so on compassionate grounds: he was protecting the umpire responsible for the mistake. "Hand on heart, I didn't want to throw Porky Parker under the bus," he says. Besides, he didn't out-and-out lie: "It wasn't like I was going, 'I swear to god, Dad, I did not nick that.' I would have said" – Langer adopts a nudge-nudge-wink-wink expression – " 'Clicky bat handle, Dad, I reckon.' "

For the full story go to Good Weekend, a magazine inserted into the  The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age every Saturday.

 

 

 

Coming towards the end of the first Australian cricket summer with the rebuilding men's national team under his watch, Justin Langer has given a revealing interview to Good Weekend about the fine line he's walking to fix the damage done by last year's ball-tampering saga.

Among other things it explores the paradox in Langer's task to regain the trust of the Australian people in the custodians of their national sport and the defining moment in his career as a player, after surviving to build a massive partnership with Adam Gilchrist when he should have been back in the pavilion after nicking a delivery from Wasim Akram.

This is a brief excerpt from the story by Jane Cadzow:

Langer, who replaced (Lehmann), has had to try to rebuild a demoralised team missing its two best batsmen, the suspended Smith and Warner. The larger goal has been to salvage cricket's battered reputation. At his first media conference after his appointment, he made clear that he intended to restore honour and integrity to the game. Breaking – or even bending – the rules would not be tolerated. "Everyone knows the difference between right and wrong," he said.

In fact, cricket's moral code can be confusing to outsiders. Is it wrong to stay at the crease when you know – as Langer knew in Hobart all those years ago – that you should be on your way back to the change-room? Of course not, he assures me, sipping his flat white. "I will never apologise for not walking in cricket. That's not cheating." Umpires inevitably make mistakes, he points out, and those errors work both ways: batsmen are sometimes dismissed when they shouldn't be; at other times, they are let off the hook. Accepting a lucky break when it comes your way is only sensible.

Another question. When people talk about Langer's heroic stand at Bellerive Oval, they tend to overlook the fact that for more than a decade he denied having edged Akram's ball. To reporters, teammates, even his father, he insisted that the noise heard around the ground was made by his bat handle as he swept and missed. Not until 2010, during the telecast of another Hobart Test match between Australia and Pakistan, did he breezily admit that bat and ball connected. Was it wrong to withhold the truth for so long?

Langer tells me he did so on compassionate grounds: he was protecting the umpire responsible for the mistake. "Hand on heart, I didn't want to throw Porky Parker under the bus," he says. Besides, he didn't out-and-out lie: "It wasn't like I was going, 'I swear to god, Dad, I did not nick that.' I would have said" – Langer adopts a nudge-nudge-wink-wink expression – " 'Clicky bat handle, Dad, I reckon.' "

For the full story go to Good Weekend, a magazine inserted into the  The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age every Saturday.

 

 

 

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