Langer, under whose guidance Australia won the T20 World Cup and the Ashes series 4-0, stepped down on Saturday after facing complaints from players about his coaching style for months.
“If he was waiting for the current Australian cricket team to be presenting a face of care, I dare say they won’t be and that’s, to me, the real sadness around this,” an emotional Hayden told ABC Sport.
Handed the captaincy following Tim Paine’s unceremonious exit, Pat Cummins didn’t endorse Langer as coach and had insisted that reviewing his suitability for the role was fair in a “high-performance environment”.
Hayden was critical of Cummins, who was one of the players who had raised concerns about Langer’s coaching style last year and also described the whole evaluation process as unhealthy.
Matthew Hayden was on the verge of tears while talking about Langer’s resignation on Summer Grandstand.Hayden exp… https://t.co/wBb2buri5X
— ABC SPORT (@abcsport) 1644027329000
“This was not a healthy process,” said the 50-year-old, who had formed a formidable opening pair with Langer during his playing days.
“This was a bloke (Langer) that won the Ashes, stayed back basically in Melbourne for the entire time while this dragged on for a month. The whole thing just reeks of being orchestrated from basically the moment all of this garbage started coming out in the middle of last year.
“You could see that the writing was on the wall. If I had a bet back then that Justin Langer would have retained his spot at the end of his contract, I would have put my whole life’s savings on him not doing it.”
On Friday, Langer had a long meeting with the Board, which offered him a short-term extension but he decided to decline the offer.
Hayden came down heavily on Cricket Australia (CA), saying it along with the players need to be blamed for the way reports of dissatisfaction about Langer’s coaching became public.
“It is such a leaking boat, this so-called high-performance culture within cricket. There is no inner sanctum anymore,” he said.
Langer was handed the reins of Australian cricket after the infamous ball-tampering scandal in 2018.
“I would like to sincerely thank Justin and also his family for all that they have given to Australian cricket over… https://t.co/kJEDHUJoYL
— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) 1644030430000
But Hayden said CA showed no respect for how Langer managed the team in the aftermath of that scandal.
Langer had welcomed Steve Smith and David Warner back into the team after the end of their one-year suspensions in 2019.
“Where would Davey Warner be right now if Justin Langer wasn’t the coach? Where would Steve Smith be? Remember when they came back in after their year’s suspension … JL spent forever around those two guys.”
“We, the Australian cricket community, loved Justin because he came in and said, ‘No way, what we’re going to do is play this game in a manner that is going to make Australians proud again,'” he said.
Following Langer’s departure, assistant coach Andrew McDonald has been appointed as the interim coach.
Andrew McDonald will step up into the role of interim head coach of our men’s national team, with official duties b… https://t.co/GJSiMGGgnF
— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) 1644031003000
Besides McDonald, Trevor Bayliss, Jason Gillespie, Ricky Ponting, Greg Shipperd and Michael Di Venuto are the other leading candidates to replace Langer as Australia’s chief coach.
Former Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson was also left fuming after learning about Langer’s resignation.
“You’ve got to look at some facts and the facts are JL has done an extremely good job. He got the team out of a very dark place,” he said.
“I just feel like he has been forced into this. I don’t blame him.
“I think the mess that’s happened throughout this whole contract debacle has been disgusting and I feel like it has just gotten to him, and I think it is a bit of a token gesture by Cricket Australia.”