“No doubt there’s some big shoes to fill,” said Adam Voges after being named as Justin Langer’s replacement as head coach of Western Australia.
Voges was playing for Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League till February this year, and played his last first-class match as recently as in September 2017. Once his playing days came to an end, Voges turned to coaching, and spent time with a Perth-based academy, so the elevation to the top job at Western Australia (WA) and the Scorchers came rather quickly.
He takes over the position left vacant after an upheaval in Australian cricket led to Darren Lehmann quitting as head coach of the national team and Langer, the WA and Scorchers coach, replacing him.
“It was the natural progression to appoint Adam after Justin left,” said Christina Matthews, the WA Cricket Association CEO.
Voges, now 38, waited what seemed an eternity to earn his first Baggy Green before, in June 2015, he made his Test debut and scored 130 not out against West Indies straightaway in Roseau. He ended with a remarkable average of 61.87 from 20 Tests, having scored 1,485 runs with five centuries and four half-centuries. He played his last Test in November 2016.
“The ambition to take this job on has always been there, and it was probably just about timing,” Voges said on Thursday.
The timing Voges refers to has to do with Australia’s original plan of having Lehmann in charge of the national team until 2019 and Langer taking over after that, but the ball-tampering controversy in South Africa earlier this year changed everything.
“Two months ago, we thought that JL would probably be stepping up in a year’s time and timing-wise I thought that might be a good opportunity,” said Voges. “But you don’t always get to work in that situation … and the timing is now.
“Throughout my captaincy journey [Voges led WA from 2007 till the end of his career] I guess I’ve been unwittingly preparing for something like this. To be involved in the planning, in the selection process, and a lot of the meetings that you go to as captain, you certainly get a feel for what the coaching landscape is like. And it’s something I’ve always been interested in.”
Langer, who scored 7,696 runs in 105 Test matches at an average of 45.27, retired from the game in 2007 and became WA coach soon after, leading the team to two second-place finishes in the Sheffield Shield, while also scooping three Big Bash League title runs for the Scorchers.
“Justin’s done a terrific job with this programme and with this group for the last six years and that’s the reason why he’s the Australian coach now,” said Voges. “But what he leaves is some great values, some great structures and some excellent people here.
“The fact that is I don’t have that experience with the title ‘coach’ next to my name, although I have a lot of leadership experience, particularly with this group. It’s just learning about a lot of the things that as a player you don’t see day in, day out.
“As a player, you worry about looking after yourself. As a captain, you probably worry about looking after your team but as a coach you’ve got a lot more responsibility than that.”