Australia put Langer saga to the side

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Mitchell Starc insists Australia will not be distracted by the ongoing Justin Langer saga, casting aside concerns of blowback from a parochial Perth crowd.

The Langer circus continues to bring unwanted headlines five days out from the first Test against West Indies, with the former coach again hitting the front pages on Saturday.

In a column in the West Australian, Langer denied there had been any falling out with his former team and again rejected the notion he had been too intense as coach.

His column came after a week in the headlines via comments from a podcast, when he accused sources who had leaked to the media during his tenure of being cowards and lamented a supposed lack of honest feedback from senior players.

His comments drew a sharp retort from Cricket Australia, with CEO Nick Hockley moving to defend the players and their organisation's feedback to the ex-coach.

The situation is almost certain to continue throughout the summer, with Langer to be in commentary with Seven.

But regardless, Starc insisted on Saturday the team had not spoken about the issue and he was not fazed by the drama.

He also confirmed he had been in contact with Langer in recent weeks and had no issue with the former coach.

"(It's) not really (been addressed)," Starc said.

"It was mentioned that there could be some noise around it, being in the west and JL having a commentary spot. And that was the extent of it.

"I don't read media stuff. I hear things around the traps but as a group it's outside noise from what everyone else makes of it, we're pretty comfortable.

"For us, it's all (about) preparation for this Test match. 

"Not too much is going to distract us outside of that."

If the fallout of Langer's ugly exit from the top job is going to be felt anywhere, it is in Perth this week.

Langer has a strong following in Western Australia, at a time when questions have been asked over the popularity of the national team.

"You'd have to ask the locals (if we're on the nose)," Starc said.

"It's Test cricket. We're starting the summer in Perth. Which is normally at the Gabba. So big opportunity.

"Optus Stadium is a fantastic place to play cricket. When we do get the chance to play here it's a good one for the players. 

"There's been a lot of talk about not having Test cricket here for a long time (through the COVID-19 pandemic). 

"So hopefully the public can come and support that and show us what Test cricket means to them, and hopefully we can put on a good show for the west."

Starc's comments came as Langer claimed he was trying to pour cold water on claims of a rift between the team, himself and former players.

"This rubbish dialogue of me fighting with the current team must stop. Simply because it is not true," Langer wrote.

"They are my friends. They are like my younger brothers. Anything said to the contrary is false.

"For four years we drank, ate, celebrated, strategised and lived together.

"We fought back from 'sandpaper gate' and COVID together and we won the T20 World Cup and Ashes together."


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