A RevSportz Exclusive || Why India doesn’t win the big tournaments: Justin Langer contrasts with the Australian cricket psyche

Justin Langer. Source: X

Though his reputation as a player was built on being one of the most obdurate and consistent opening batsmen, Justin Langer won his biggest honour as coach in the T20 format, leading Australia to the World Cup in 2021 in Dubai. After differences of opinion with several senior players led to him leaving the Australia job, Langer spent time away from the game for a couple of years.

Now in charge of Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in the Indian Premier League (IPL), he was certainly a name the BCCI might have been interested in as they look to appoint a new India coach after the T20 World Cup in June. But a national-team job isn’t on Langer’s radar, at least for now.

“When you coach a country, it’s all-encompassing,” he told RevSportz in an exclusive interview. “There’s a timeframe of two-three-four years, particularly now with T20 cricket, one-day cricket and Tests. It’s a full-on job. My first year coaching Australia, I was away from home 300 days of the year. It’s a very difficult job and you’ve got to be absolutely in that mindset.

“I had two years away from coaching and I really enjoyed that. I’ve loved every single minute of the IPL. It’s more fun winning than losing, that’s reality. It’s an extraordinary competition. You come here and the pressure is on from all angles. LSG are like a big family, and you hear that a lot with the franchise teams. There’s a knack to doing that when together for eight weeks. In fact, from the moment I met Mr [Sanjiv] Goenka in London in July, to now, it’s been so much fun. I’m very keen to stay coaching LSG as long as possible.”


But being a relative stranger to your loved ones is just one aspect of a national coach’s existence. “That’s only one of the stresses,” said Langer, who took on the Australia job after Sandpapergate in 2018 and walked away after retaining the Ashes in January 2022. “If you coach a state side back home or a BBL franchise, you have one-tenth of the population barracking for you. When you coach India or Australia, you have the whole country behind you.

“So, if you lose, the whole country goes into mourning. You also have this great expectation not only from the fans, but the media. The scrutiny is very, very intense, and you need to have your batteries fully charged to coach international teams. So, the next coach of India, whoever that might be, will need his batteries fully recharged, because when you get into that hot seat, you know you’re alive.”

India have gone more than a decade without winning a global trophy, and according to Langer, the solution lies in approaching the big games in a more relaxed state of mind. “Indian cricket fans are so passionate about the game, they so want to win, that you can feel it,” he said. “We’ve felt it here at LSG. We won a few games on the trot, we beat Sunrisers [Hyderabad], and we could feel this pressure building from all around.


“That’s why coaching the Indian international team would be such an incredible project. It’s not about talent, it’s about working out how to release the pressure in the big tournaments and big moments. There are other countries having the same issues. What I’ve learned about the Australian psyche over years is that while we’re so serious about winning every game we play, when you walk off the field, it’s like being in a nightclub the whole time.

“It’s so much fun. We’ve almost learned a way to release the pressure. When it comes to the crunch matches, the finals, players have to be relaxed. They have to be happy. There’s enough pressure already. That, to me, is the key to unlock for teams to be successful in the big tournaments.”

Also Read: ‘They’re the calmest, most peaceful, men on the planet: Justin Langer on the KL Rahul-Sanjiv Goenka chat