Cricket Galiyara

Justin Langer seeking improvement just as I am


Smith said there had been conversations with the coach in the weeks since the end of the India series

Steven Smith has paralleled his evolving tale as a Test batsman, in which he emerged from a brief run of low scores against India to make the runs in Sydney and Brisbane that clinched his third Allan Border Medal, with the need for Australia’s coach Justin Langer to keep continually improving as a mentor and man manager.

As the world’s pre-eminent Test batsman for most of the past six years, it’s unsurprising that Smith revealed Langer gave him very little coaching whatsoever, aside from an occasional reminder to stay energetic on his feet at the crease. But he credited Langer for maintaining an attitude of learning and seeking feedback, though acknowledging that unvarnished opinions would not always be easy to find.

“I think even if you speak to Justin, you want to be improving all the time as a coach or as a player, so of course there’s things you can always get better at,” Smith said. “One thing that hasn’t been spoken a lot about is how tough a job it is to coach an international team, particularly in the circumstances we’ve been in when we’ve been in bubbles for long periods of time.

“But Justin’s always working hard, trying to improve and get better and we’ve had conversations over the last two weeks since we’ve finished and he’s always trying to get better and better and that’s all you can ask from a coach.”

Langer and Smith’s earliest interactions took place in 2010, when Smith was playing his first Tests for Australia and the coach was a batting assistant seeking to smooth the rough edges of players including him, David Warner and the late Phillip Hughes. Since Smith’s return to Test cricket for the 2019 Ashes, their relationship has been largely a case of the coach keeping out of the way of a batsman in command of himself and his game.

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