The topic? Langer and how they saw Trevor Bayliss, the former England head coach and known to those present from New South Wales days, as a calm figurehead who would take a back seat and allow the players the freedom to run team affairs without Langer’s volatility.
This was just three nights before the start of the fifth Test in Hobart and when Telegraph Sport reported that Bayliss was wanted by the leading players and coaches in the Australia team, Langer was furious, and hurt, that despite his recent success in changing his style, it had not been enough for some of those within his own dressing room.
Cricket Australia’s handling of Langer’s exit has made the England & Wales Cricket Board look good over the past couple of days. The ECB may have stretched out the sackings of Ashley Giles, Chris SIlverwood and Graham Thorpe over three days but it was at least done with dignity and respect towards men who had given everything in an attempt to be successful.
Langer has been treated shabbily for someone whose commitment to the cause was total and perhaps the handling of his exit by Cricket Australia will push him into the arms of a grateful ECB.
Ponting was furious about it all – the offer of a six month contract designed to make a proud man resign instead. “Here’s the plank would you like to go for a stroll?’ was how Robert Craddock, the Brisbane Courier Mail’s long-standing correspondent put it.
Player power has been laid bare. Most coaches lose their jobs through poor results; Langer won almost every match of the Australia summer having picked up the pieces after the sandpaper scandal. But Langer ‘lost’ the dressing room, stuffed full of many of the same players in Cape Town that infamous day, and no amount of crisis talks or change on his behalf was ever going to repair that problem.
“It seems like a very strange time for a coach to be departing. Reading the tea leaves it sounds like a few – and as he says to me a small group in the playing group and a couple of other staff around the team – haven’t entirely loved the way he has gone about it,” said Ponting.