Australian Test captain Pat Cummins on Wednesday denied that a player revolt over Justin Langer’s intense management style was behind the batting great’s shock resignation as men’s team coach.
Cummins had been under pressure from former players to explain his role in Langer’s departure after the 51-year-old quit on Saturday following unsuccessful talks with Cricket Australia over a contract extension.
The paceman broke his silence in a written statement, saying he was previously unable to comment as it would have put his team in an “impossible situation”.
“I’d never do that,” he said. “I believe in respecting the sanctity of the change room and proper process.”
Cummins had repeatedly refused to back Langer to stay in the job despite his success guiding Australia to an emphatic 4-0 Ashes victory over archrivals England and a maiden T20 World Cup title.
Langer also overhauled the toxic Australian cricketing culture that led to the 2018 “Sandpaper-gate” ball tampering scandal.
Speculation had centred on Langer’s self-admitted tendency towards being “grumpy”, with reports suggesting Cummins had passed on concerns from himself and other players to Cricket Australia.
But the skipper insisted “the players were OK with JL’s intensity” as it showed his commitment to the Australian cause.
“Justin’s intensity drove a better team culture and higher team standards,” Cummins said in a statement.
“These are significant Justin Langer legacies.”
Instead, Cummins said there was a feeling in the dressing room that Australia needed “a new style of coaching and skill set” to build on the foundations laid by Langer.
“(Cricket Australia) have made a brave call to transition, given the team has been winning,” he said.
A number of high-profile ex-players including Langer’s former captain Ricky Ponting have expressed anger over his abrupt exit and questioned who in the current Australian set-up contributed.
Cummins said former players had a right to speak out, but as the current Australian captain he also had a duty towards his teammates.
“To all past players, I want to say this: just as you have always stuck up for your mates, I’m sticking up for mine,” he said.