In his column for the Times of India, Gambhir wrote, “In 2015, I worked with the current Australian coach Justin Langer. At the time, I was trying to make a comeback into the Indian team and needed a sounding board. There were a few former cricketers I contemplated to work with before approaching the Aussie. He was left-handed like me, an opening batsman like me and looked a little grumpy like me. I could relate to him. As it turned out, we both loved to talk cricket. We spoke about the game, batting, mental aspects and above all – life.”
Gambhir was left impressed with not only Langer’s research on him but how quickly he pointed out the problem the former Kolkata Knight Riders captain was facing.
“The thing that struck me most was Langer’s research. He knew so much about me. My first meeting with Langer happened at his small but extremely fascinating office cabin at the WACA stadium in Perth. He was the coach of the Western Australian state team. A few pleasantries later, he showed me a clip of my batting for Kolkata Knight Riders on a computer screen on a small table in his office. I think in about five minutes he explained to me my problem. He knew my older technique, how it changed over the years and to where it was in 2015. I knew I had made the right choice,” Gambhir added.
Gambhir was so impressed by Langer’s approach that he was convinced that the Aussie should be a KKR coach.
“In the next 20 days, I saw so many aspects of Langer that convinced me that he should be a KKR coach. Langer would smile at this suggestion and politely say no as he wanted to be with his ailing mom. His late mother was battling cancer at the time. It was surprising for me as people would almost line up to work in IPL and here was Langer prioritising his family over an IPL coaching offer,” Gambhir wrote.
Langer took charge of Australia in May 2018 in the wake of the sandpaper controversy and though he is not travelling with this Australian squad for their three-match ODI series against India, Gambhir can clearly see the former Australian opener’s contribution in making the Aussies a fine team.
Australia enjoyed a successful Test summer, as they white-washed both New Zealand and Pakistan. In 2019, the side managed to regain the Ashes, after drawing the series against 2-2 against England. The side is now placed at the second position in the World Test Championship with 296 points.
“I also had a chance to attend one of Langer’s coaching workshops at the WACA. With each passing day I was getting convinced that he can be the man to take Australian cricket forward. So, recent results for Australia are not surprising to me. He is putting the team back on track, step by step. Langer is not travelling with the Aussies for this tour but he clearly has got the team on track. To me, the current Australian team is not Finch’s team or Paine’s team but it is Langer’s side,” Gambhir concluded.