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

Source (X)

According to Justin Langer, the coach of Lucknow Super Giants, his first reaction on seeing the animated post-match conversation between KL Rahul, his captain, and Sanjiv Goenka, the team owner, was complete surprise. “It was incredible,” he said in an exclusive interview with RevSportz. “I’ve thought about this a lot over the last four days. I’ve had four surprises in my life. And they were the sexes (genders) of my daughters when they were born. They kept coming out… ‘It’s a girl’, ‘it’s a girl’, ‘it’s a girl’…Four girls, but we didn’t know leading up, so it was a great surprise.

So, when I saw the reaction the other night, it was like the fifth surprise of my life. Anyone who knows MrGoenka, or anyone who knows KL Rahul …they’re the calmest, most peaceful men on the planet. So, when I saw there was a bit of arms going on about, I thought I’ve never seen this before because they’re both so calm.

“But then, when I went and listened to the conversation, it was just the passion and the gesturing. Actually, they were just talking about where our plan went wrong for the game. And it went wrong! We had a really bad game. Travis Head, the openers for Sunrisers [Hyderabad] were brilliant. Bhuvi [Bhuvneshwar Kumar] bowled beautifully to us early, and they beat us really well.

“That’s the funny thing about the aftermath of what happened. No one knew what was said. And I was like, I’m so surprised, as with the birth of my daughters, because I heard what was said, and it was all about the plan. Just a bit of cricket talk. In a lot of ways, I’m laughing about it. It’s been such an awesome relationship so far between MrGoenka, Shashwat, his son, KL and myself. It’s been brilliant, so chilled out.”

Langer was categorical when it came to stating that the owners didn’t interfere in how he or his captain did their jobs. “Zero,” he said when asked of interference from the top.

“When I came to the IPL – and this is my first year – I heard lots of talk about the owners getting involved in selection. That’s not my experience. It’s been incredible. The truth is, every day, KL and I meet with MrGoenka and his son. And it’s: ‘What are you guys thinking today?’ [And we say] This is what we’re thinking, this is our plan. He might ask a few little questions, and then we have a discussion. And he goes: ‘Okay, well done. Good luck.’ That’s it, every time. It’s been really refreshing.

“It’s a great relationship. Only an hour ago, we were meeting and talking about our plans to try and beat Delhi Capitals. In fact, I’ve been surprised by how many times MrGoenka says to me: ‘I don’t know much about cricket, but this is what I’m thinking. This is what I might be seeing or hearing. What do you think?’ It’s like the teacher’s telling the student about the game. It’s beautiful. There’s been zero experience since I’ve been here of any stress with the owner.

With Lucknow needing to likely win both their last two games to make the play-offs, all eyes will be on Rahul on Tuesday evening. “We’ve had two particularly bad games, and we need to remedy that today,” said Langer. He [Rahul] in a great frame of mind. He’s led the team incredibly well under pressure. It’s funny, you know. A lot of people want to point the finger at the captain. But look at the high scores this year in this IPL.

“I was smiling to myself [watching CSK] the other night. The great MS Dhoni … I know he’s not titled ‘captain’ this year. But when [Shubman] Gill and Gujarat were going the other night, even Dhoni must have been scratching his head going: ‘What do we do here?’ The point is all the captains are under a lot of pressure. It’s a very tough job, and I think KL has done a good job. He compartmentalisesreally well. He bats, he captains the side and he’s in a good state of mind.

“We had a few days off after the last game. He’s been home to Bangalore, seen his family, seen a few of his friends, which you have to do during these long IPLs. He’s in a relaxed frame of mind and we’re hoping he scores lots of runs today.

To view the full conversation: 

As for the pressure on his captain, Langer was confident he would show his true colours. “One of my strong observations, being in the IPL and in India, is how much pressure the Indian players are under,” he said. “People talk of them making a lot of money. You know why? Because there’s so much talent in this country it’s blowing me away. How’s KL going to handle the pressure today (laughs)? You don’t make so many runs and captain India unless you’re a master of dealing with pressure.

“He’ll be looking forward to batting today. I’ve learned that leadership can be a really lonely position. It’s really tough. We talk cricket, we talk about life. Sometimes, it’s just nice to talk to people who walk in your shoes. Lots of people have an opinion who haven’t walked in your shoes before.”

And after describing the off-field atmosphere in the Australian team as being like a ‘nightclub’, Langer laughingly suggested that team management and leadership group would celebrate together if they beat Delhi on Tuesday night. “We’ll be dancing behind closed doors, don’t worry!” he quipped.

For more sports content: https://revsportz.in/