Langer joins Martyn in Lillee criticism - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Langer joins Martyn in Lillee criticism

09/11/2006 12:17:49 AM Comments (0)

The row involving WACA president Dennis Lillee and Damien Martyn has escalated with opening batsman Justin Langer supporting his Test teammate.

Martyn was involved in a war of words with Lillee after the legendary fast bowler said the Australian top order was vulnerable in the coming Ashes campaign because of the age factor.

Like Martyn, Langer too has taken umbrage with Lillee's remarks and believes Lillee should keep his thoughts to himself as WACA president.

"People have claimed for the past five years that the Australian team is too old but that is not supported by its performance.

"For four years we were written off as too old and we have kept proving over and over what a great side the Australian cricket team is.

"But if people keep saying it, eventually they will get it right because eventually we will have to retire or step away from the game.

"They haven't got it right for four or five years though.

"I would walk onto the cricket field with (37-year-old) Glenn McGrath any day of the week and I wouldn't care how old he is.

"He is a superstar just like Gilly or Matty Hayden. How could you fault them?"

The clash between WA's leading players and Lillee comes on the eve of one of the biggest interstate matches with seven members of the first Ashes Test likely to be in action for WA and Queensland in the Pura Cup game starting on Sunday.

Langer added: "Damien is one of my best friends and he is a pretty loyal person so I stand by him.

"I would stand by him through thick and thin. There was enough said last week and I didn't want to comment last week because it is not really an Australian thing to do for people on the same side to be having a slanging match."

Langer, the best batsman produced in WA, and Lillee, the greatest bowler and now a highly-respected coach, were both at Warriors practice at the WACA on Wednesday night, but did not speak as they operated in different sections of the nets.

Driving from the ground, Lillee would not respond to the growing furore other than to say: "Everyone is entitled to their opinion."

WACA said Lillee's senior elected position did not disqualify him from commenting publicly on cricket matters.

He is supported by WACA chairman David Williams who said Lillee was entitled to express strong views as he made his living as a cricket columnist and product promoter.

"When Dennis makes comment on the Australian cricket team or individual players he does so as Dennis Lillee the commentator and not Dennis Lillee the WACA president," Williams said.

"Dennis ... occupies an honorary position. It is not (his) livelihood. When the WACA membership overwhelmingly elected Dennis to the position of president they were aware of the whole Dennis Lillee package."

That distraction may be lost on the Australian players with Martyn making it clear that he thought it inappropriate for a senior Australian cricket administrator to criticise the team publicly.

"Of course he is entitled to an opinion, but while he is WACA president I think he should be supporting us as fellow members of the Australian cricket family," Martyn said.

He said the spat would not affect WA's performance against the Bulls.

"It is totally insignificant to the Warriors," he said. "It will have no impact on the Warriors."

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