Langer stresses on ‘fair’ process to reintegrate Smith, Warner
Over time we’ll bring the brotherhood together,’ says Justin Langer, the Australia coach, on the process of bringing Steve Smith and David Warner back into the team.
The two of them, as well as Cameron Bancroft, have been out of the Australia set-up since the ball-tampering incident in Cape Town in March this year. Bancroft will become available for selection at the end of 2018, but Smith and Warner will be out for three more months.
Both Smith and Warner, captain and vice-captain of the side when they were suspended, have been active on the short-format league circuit, and are match-fit, but Langer stressed that it won’t be a matter of just throwing them back in the team once they become available.
“There’s going to be a process for the boys to come back and it is really important we start working on that process from now. We can’t get to the point and just say ‘right, they’re back’. It’s not fair on them, it’s not fair on the team, it’s not fair on everyone,” said Langer.
Langer, who took over from Darren Lehmann after Lehmann stepped down in the aftermath of the episode, has spent time chatting with Smith and Warner, as well as Bancroft, recently.
“I didn’t deliberately catch up with them separately. I caught up with Davey in Brisbane before we went to the UAE [for the series against Pakistan] because I wanted to see him face to face. It’s one thing exchanging text messages and emails, you have to talk face to face. We had a great catch-up,” said Langer.
“It was the first time I’d seen Steven the other day. I wanted it to be between us because there’s lots to be spoken about and then over time we’ll bring the brotherhood together and everything will be okay. It was great. I speak to Cameron Bancroft a bit, they’ve been through a tough 12 months, they’ve been penalised for making a really big mistake, no doubt about that, but we’ve got to get them into the group and every opportunity we get is a positive one.”
Saying that he had worked out the way forward with the authorities, Langer added, “If you think about the ACA [Australian Cricketers’ Association] and CA [Cricket Australia], the public and the team, the media and the team, it’s a bit disjointed at the moment.
“The more we can bring it back, the more harmony you get the happier environment for everyone. That includes the boys.”
Australia next play a four-Test series against India, with three of the matches to be held in December. All three suspended players will miss those Tests, with Bancroft only becoming available for selection for the last game – starting in Sydney on 3 January.