Ashes 2019: Broad got into Warner's head, acknowledges Langer

By Sports Desk September 16, 2019

Australia coach Justin Langer believes opener David Warner will benefit from playing cricket away from Stuart Broad in the coming months after the England bowler got "into his head".

Warner endured a miserable Ashes series despite Australia retaining the urn in a 2-2 draw, making double figures only twice across 10 innings.

He had three consecutive ducks at one stage and was dismissed by Broad seven times, making him the batsman dismissed most often (12 times) by the Nottinghamshire star in his Test career.

Langer still believes Warner is a "champion player", though, and hopes he can now recover following the series, with the next Ashes not until 2021-22.

"I think, talking frankly, he let Stuart Broad get into his head and he thought way too much about it," said Langer.

"I've seen it before, even with the great players, every now and then they have a series [like this] – and I'm talking about the all-time great players. I remember Gilly [Adam Gilchrist] with Andrew Flintoff.

"I remember seeing Steve Waugh sit on the team bus in South Africa and the guy had been a run machine for so long, he got out just before stumps and I, in a sick sort of way, thought it was the best thing I'd ever seen.

"I didn't think great players had lean runs. I used to have lean runs all the time but even great players have lean runs and David – we know he's a very good player, there's no question about that – had it tough, particularly against Stuart Broad.

"I used to have it against Murali [Muttiah Muralitharan] and I couldn't solve the issue and it's so hard when you try to problem solve and then you're in the middle of a big series trying to solve the puzzle.

"In this instance, I don't think David solved the puzzle, and he'll be first to admit that.

"He'll probably be very relieved he gets on the Qantas flight in a day's time and doesn't have to face Stuart Broad for a while, I reckon. But there's plenty of upside still to his batting.

"I've learned over a long period you never write off champion players – it doesn't matter what sport, you never write off champion players. They tend to come good, don't they?

"So he's had a tough series, no doubt about that, but he's also a champion player, so usually with champion players, they get a bit more time to come good."

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    Bulgaria great Hristo Stoichkov fought back tears in a TV appearance as he demanded action over the racist abuse England players suffered in their Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia.

    The former Ballon d'Or winner suggested "heavier punishments" than stadium closures could be required in response to the shameful scenes that marred Monday's match.

    A section of Bulgaria supporters aimed monkey chants at Raheem Sterling, Tyrone Mings and Marcus Rashford and were also seen performing Nazi salutes.

    Bulgarian Football Union president Borislav Mihaylov stepped down amid the fallout and UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against the organisation.

    The abuse witnessed at Vasil Levski National Stadium moved 53-year-old Stoichkov during an appearance on TUDN programme Futbol Central.

    "People don't deserve to suffer," Stoichkov said, before becoming emotional and hanging his head.

    Play was twice halted in the first half on Monday before a group of fans were ejected from the ground.

    Asked about about a suitable sanction, former Barcelona forward Stoichkov said: "That fans are not allowed in the stadium, or even heavier punishments, like in England a few years ago."

    Stoichkov did not specify a particular incident involving punishment in England. He may have meant the ban from European club competitions imposed after the 1985 Heysel Stadium disaster, when English clubs were barred from UEFA competitions for five years, and Liverpool excluded for a further year.

    The Sofia stadium that hosted Monday's match had already been partially closed as a result of racist behaviour from fans during qualifiers against Kosovo and the Czech Republic in June.

    Bulgaria head coach Krasimir Balakov issued an apology on Wednesday and condemned the racist abuse after initially stating he did not hear it occur during his team's 6-0 defeat.

    "I would like to say very clearly: since there were cases of racial discrimination in Sofia, I would like to sincerely apologise to the English footballers and to all those who felt offended," Balakov said.

  • Rugby World Cup 2019: May reveals how meal with parents prompted successful England career Rugby World Cup 2019: May reveals how meal with parents prompted successful England career

    Jonny May reflected on how a decision to snub a team night out in favour of dinner with his parents paid huge dividends as he prepares to celebrate winning a 50th England cap.

    The Leicester Tigers flyer made his international debut over six years ago during a tour of Argentina, when the majority of the team was on British and Irish Lions duty.

    May was overlooked for the first Test in favour of David Strettle and Christian Wade and had initially missed out on selection for the second game before the latter was drafted to Australia with the Lions.

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    "Funnily enough Christian Wade got called up for the Lions on the morning of the game," said May. 

    "And basically because my mum and dad were out and I went out for dinner with them and all the other non-23 players went out on the p***, so I got the 'go on you can play' pretty much! It's funny how it works out.

    "I didn't feel ashamed but I didn't feel great because my parents were out there and it looked like I wasn't going to get a game. 

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    "It really has been a challenge. You have to fight to be a part of the squad, let alone to start. My mindset has changed so much on that, especially with Eddie [Jones] coming in. 

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    "I have changed a lot, not just as a rugby player but as a person. I have matured. I have become more focused, maybe a little bit more introverted as the years have gone on.

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    Bulgaria coach Krasimir Balakov has apologised after initially saying he did not hear the racist abuse directed at England players during Monday's Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia.

    England claimed a 6-0 win but the match was marred by incidents in the stands, which were reported to officials and resulted in two delays to the action before half-time.

    UEFA opted to charge the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) for "racist behaviour (chants, Nazi salutes)", with local reports indicating four people have been arrested in connection.

    BFU president Borislav Mihaylov resigned under pressure from Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borissov in the wake of the furore.

    Before the match, coach Balakov claimed England had a bigger problem with racism in football than his own country, then insisted after the game he had not heart the chanting.

    But he has since issued an apology after accepting racist abuse did occur.

    In a letter posted to his official Facebook page, Balakov wrote: "I condemn all forms of racism as an unacceptable behaviour that contradicts normal human relations.

    "I think that this form of prejudice should be buried deep in our past, and no one should ever be subjected [to it].

    "I have trained many Bulgarian teams with players of different origin and never anyone judging by the colour of their skin. In addition, I have always participated actively in all initiatives involving privileged people or those who need to be involved.

    "My comments before the game against England that Bulgaria did not have problems with racism is based on the fact that the local championship did not see such a problem on a large scale.

    "There may have been individual cases, but it's definitely not something you see at the stadium. The majority of football fans do not participate in this kind [of behaviour], and I believe that this has also been the case in the game against England.

    "I would like to say very clearly: since there were cases of racial discrimination in Sofia, I would like to sincerely apologise to the English footballers and to all those who felt offended.

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