“Unforgiving society, real shame” coach Langer on the Tim Paine saga

Australia coach Justin Langer has come out swinging in defence of former captain Tim Paine, after making a secret dash to visit his former skipper in Tasmania on the eve of the first Test.

Langer, who himself was under media scrutiny for hard hand tactics with players earlier in the year, said “there’s not one person who’s asking questions here or who’s on the camera there, who is listening to this or who is watching this who hasn’t made a mistake in their life.

“There’s not a single person – and our captain, one of the best – made a mistake, and he’s paying a heavy price for it. ” Langer added it is an “unforgiving society and it is a real shame.”

The location for the fifth and final Test of the Series is still yet to be set in stone, as Cricket Australia continue negotiations with the West Australian Government due to heightened COVID restrictions in the State.

Still have ‘nightmares’ over Stokes’ Headingley exploits

Langer admitted he still has “nightmares” about Ben Stokes’ exploits at Headingley in 2019, but said he was happy to see him back after a break from cricket.

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While Australia retained the Ashes urn two years ago, the highlight of the series was the England all-rounder’s heroics in its one-wicket win in the third Test at Leeds.

With just one wicket remaining and 73 runs needed for victory, Stokes steered England to its highest successful run chase in Tests with a memorable unbeaten 135.

“He’s a great cricketer, no doubt about that. I still have nightmares about his innings in that third Test,” Langer said.

“I probably have more nightmares about his spell on day three of that game. He’s an unbelievable athlete and a great competitor.”

Stokes took an indefinite break from cricket in July to focus on his mental health and recover from two operations on a fractured left index finger.

It was unclear initially whether he would travel to Australia, but he was on the plane in a massive boost to England’s hopes of reclaiming the Ashes.

“It’s great for the game of cricket that Ben Stokes is playing Ashes cricket, and we all love it,” said Langer.

“It’s an Australian summer and it probably wouldn’t be the same without the best players playing.”

“It’s nice to see and hopefully his health is good. We welcome him here because he is one of the superstars of the game,” he added.

(With inputs from AFP)

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