Khawaja calls for set-term coaching tenure


Usman Khawaja says Australian coaches should have a limited tenure in the top job to prevent them from being burnt out by cricket’s brutal schedule and outside pressure.

The drama around Justin Langer’s exit from the Australian coaching ranks threatens to overshadow the start of the summer Test in Perth, following a week of headlines over his dismissal.

The players are adamant the situation was not a distraction ahead of Wednesday’s first Test against West Indies, with most saying they did not properly read Langer’s comments which angered Cricket Australia.

Langer himself has moved to deny there is a rift between him and the players, with the subject likely to be a recurring theme with him in commentary this season.

Similarly, the players have backed new one-man manager Andrew McDonald, denying there should be any pressure on him ahead of his first home Test summer following a failed T20 World Cup campaign.

But whoever coaches, Khawaja thinks it would be best if the mentors’ working time was limited.

“I really think JL for when he came in for the transition and what was going on at the time, he was probably the perfect person to come in,” Khawaja said.

“It’s a tough job and in my opinion Australian coaches shouldn’t have more than four to five years in which they can coach.

“Because this job is going to depress you. And things are changing so fast in international sport.

“I had this conversation with Andrew McDonald even before he became a coach. And he actually agreed with me.

“The American presidency has two four-year terms. I think there has to be a similar thing for an Australian coach. Because it’s a very difficult job.”

Khawaja pointed to McDonald’s taking Australia to a series win in Pakistan and a 1-1 draw in Sri Lanka with his player-led approach.

His teammates are also adamant that McDonald’s can be tough on players when needed.

Langer’s abandonment amid player comments that he was too intense has prompted suggestions that McDonald’s is too soft and the team may lack its traditional ruthlessness.

But Travis Head and Josh Hazlewood say that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“He’s a man, I think,” Hazlewood said.

“He’s a great manager of players. He adapts so much to each player. Obviously the 11 players are different. Sometimes you have 15 on tour.

“Every player is different and he understands just what he needs at times.

“I would say he’s more involved than any other coach I’ve had.

“His cricketing brain is unreal. He never has an answer, really. He’ll figure something out.”

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