‘Look, what you blokes have have done to me’: When Langer ‘grabbed’ Gilchrist by neck and ‘chucked’ him against wall
The story goes that Langer was set to be the no. 3 batsman in the Ashes Test series, but with Damien Martyn showing supreme form in the ODIs, Langer was dropped from the first Test, which left him emotional.Updated: Jul 26, 2020 14:41 IST
Australia coach Justin Langer revealed that once, out of frustration, he ‘grabbed’ former Aussie teammate Adam Gilchrist ‘by the neck’ and ‘chucked him towards the wall’ during Australia’s 2001 tour of England. The story goes that Langer was set to be the no. 3 batsman in the Ashes Test series, but with Damien Martyn showing supreme form in the ODIs, Langer was dropped from the first Test, which left him emotional.
Speaking to former Australia allrounder Shane Watson on Lessons Learnt with the Greats podcast, Langer revealed that it was his hero Steve Waugh who delivered him the shocking news that he would not be playing the first Ashes Test.
“About two days before the first Test, I had a knock on the door from the legend Steve Waugh, who literally was my hero. [He] 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,” Langer was quoted as saying by Fox Cricket.
“This is my hero and my big brother, telling me that I was out [of the first Test], 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 … 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 – ‘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,” Langer further recalled.
Waugh, himself, suffered an injury before the fourth Test which ruled him out of the contest. Langer said that he saw it as an opening for him to be in the team, but he performed poorly in the next two practice games against Sussex, and was once again not picked for the fourth Test. Unfortunately, Adam Gilchrist bore the brunt of Langer’s frustrations.
“I remember at Sussex and I’m thinking, ‘This is my chance, come on, Tugga [Steve 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’m 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 batting… 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, ‘Look what you blokes have done to me!’ and I got really upset,” the former left-handed batsman added.
Langer went on to play in the 5th Test where he went on to score a memorable hundred. But he suffered an injury and had to return back to the hut without getting out for 102. Australia had won the match by an innings and 25 runs.