'You could cut the air with a knife' - Langer recalls unique method to overcome 2019 Headingley setback
Justin Langer recalled how Australia bounced back from the shocking loss in the Headingley Test of the 2019 trip to regain the Ashes for the first time in the UK since 2001.
Ruffled to the core and given a major psychological blow by home team's incredible match-winner Ben Stokes, who pulled off a one-wicket heist for the ages, the then Australian coach got his troops watching the highlights of the final session in Leeds.
Langer said the idea of glueing the Australian players under former skipper Tim Paine to the screen to bear the pain of revisiting Stokes' rearguard knock and his partnership with stoic No.11 Jack Leach was to give them a brutal recount of where they faltered to concede defeat from the jaws of victory.
The ex coach reminisced that as a point of true reckoning for his side as it ended up galvanise Paine & company and ultimately helped them come out triumphant in the very next Test in Manchester to do what no other Australian touring party since Steve Waugh's men 18 years back had done: take the prestigious urn home.
Langer recounts how Australia overcame Leeds setback
In his column for UK-based 'The Telegraph', Langer wrote how his unique tactic to put the Headingley loss right in the face of his players and keeping their pain and wounds fresh inspired them to for the Old Trafford clash and played a direct role in taking the irrevocable 2-1 lead with a Test match to go.
"After Ben Stokes’s heroics at Headingley in 2019, I clearly remember a sleepless night, not uncommon for a coach. Much to the chagrin of most of the players, the next morning we sat in the hotel boardroom and watched the entire Stokes and Jack Leach partnership on video. You could cut the air with a knife," Langer wrote.
"Where other teams might have buckled under the pressure of such a humiliating defeat, we had to wrestle the demons, or the Ashes would be lost."
"That week between Headingley and retaining the Ashes at Old Trafford in 2019, was the best coaching week of my career. It wasn’t popular, leadership rarely is, but the learnings were invaluable. The reason it was unpopular with some, was that some of the players had promised to take a few days off and retreat from the pressures of the game with their families," he added.