Australian coach Justin Langer opened up about how he struggled to come to terms with the fact that he had been dropped for the first Test of the 2001 Ashes series.
Langer revealed that it was the then Aussie skipper Steve Waugh who told him the news after which he tried to change his style of play in the following week to get back into the team. He even snapped at wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist.
“About two days before the first Test, I had a knock on the door from the legend Steve Waugh, who literally was my hero,” Langer was quoted as saying by foxsports.com.au.
“Knocks on the door of my hotel room…walked into my room and says, “I don’t know how to tell you this mate, but you are not playing in the first Test.’ I didn’t know whether to cry on his shoulders or punch him out.”
“This is my hero and my big brother, telling me that I was out, and I was literally shocked, I just didn’t see it coming. Damien Martyn had been in such amazing form in the one-day series leading up to it and he was so good (that) they couldn’t ignore him, and I was the casualty from it,” he added.
“What happened next was a I was doing all the physical stuff that Aussie blokes do, but what I wasn’t doing, I had to let go of the emotional bit as ‘I’m 31 years old, it’s the end of the dream, I’m out, I’m gone.’ And so for the next six-seven-eight weeks, I was playing the practice games, and I was batting so bad because I was trying so hard,” said the 39-year-old.
“I remember at Sussex and I’m thinking, ‘This is my chance, come on, Tugga (Waugh) is out, this is my chance.’ At Sussex, I remember the first innings, I batted with Gilly, and I nearly started crying at the crease because Gilly is smacking them all around the park. I can’t even hit the ball to the square,” Langer said.
“Then I am like, ‘C’mon, if I’ll get some runs in the second innings, I’ll play the next Test.’ Then they are going back 10 minutes before stumps, and I was opening the battinga there’s nothing worse. And I’m like, ‘C’mon, just get through 10-15 minutes’, and I’m out for a duck. What happens next is I’m walking off at the Hove and I wanted the whole ground to open up and swallow me,” he added.
“Adam Gilchrist, he is one of my great friends, and who was the captain, I grabbed him by the neck and chucked him up against the wall, a’Look what you blokes have done to me!’ and I got really upset.”