Out-of-favour opener Usman Khawaja, who clashed with Justin Langer during Australia’s tour of UAE in 2018, has backed the embattled coach to continue in the position through the Ashes and urged the players to stop undermining him.
The Australian coach’s position has come under heavy scrutiny since last week amid dressing room leaks about his intensity and mood swings that have not gone down well with the players.
But Khawaja, who had a heated exchange with Langer in 2018, which was captured in the docu-series ‘The Test’, backed the coach, saying the players need to raise their performance instead of expressing their grievances through the media.
“How do you think JL feels?” Khawaja asked on his YouTube channel. “He probably feels like the guys in the team are stabbing him in the back, and that’s what it looks like.
“That’s why it’s so disappointing. It’s actually a really bad look. This is something the group needs to sort out ASAP.”
He added: “Let’s put it into perspective here. It’s not always 100 per cent the coach’s fault. The guys aren’t performing, the players have to take onus too at some stage.
“The guys have to perform better and at end of day it’s not just one person, so I think there needs to be some sort of perspective put around this too.”
Relations between Langer and his players exacerbated with Cricket Australia holding emergency talks between senior executives and the cricketers to try and chart a roadmap ahead of the T20 World Cup and Ashes.
It is understood that an agreement had reached for everyone to work together, at least until Langer’s contract expires next year.
Khawaja backed his coach despite the perception that he was dropped from the team because of his feud with Langer.
Meanwhile, Khawaja also rated the Indian attack as the best in the world and called Mohammed Shami as the most underrated bowler.
“In my opinion, the Indian bowling lineup right now is the best bowling lineup in the world, yes there are awesome bowlers all around the world, but that lineup is unbelievable.”
On Shami, he said, “I think he is the most underrated bowler in the world, in my opinion, Mohammed Shami, he’s actually a lot quicker than you think.
“I think that’s one of his skill sets and he always has that seam in a beautiful position but no one really talks about him genuine thing he is such a big part of that bowling lineup and people forget about him,” said Khawaja.
Inputs from PTI