Australia’s Test captain Pat Cummins has broken his silence four days after Justin Langer’s departure, saying there was never any issue with the coach’s “intensity” but the side needed a “calmer” and “more collaborative” approach.
At a Wednesday press conference, Cummins told media that the team and support staff appreciated the ex-coach’s style.
He said: “I think the players benefit from a more collaborative approach. A big theme this summer was to be more calm, more composed. That’s been the feedback from the players, staff and Cricket Australia that that’s the direction we want to take the team.”
Cummins praised Langer for driving high standards, but said CA’s decision to move the coach on would not have come as a “big surprise” to him after two years of evaluation.
In a statement issued an hour before he was due to address reporters on Langer’s exit, Cummins said he was “sticking up for my mates”.
The 28-year-old said: “There has been much public comment since Justin Langer’s resignation as the coach of the Australian cricket team. For good reason, I haven’t made public comment before today.
“To speak about a decision, which was yet to be made and which is for Cricket Australia to make, would have put Cricket Australia and the team in an impossible position.
“I’d never do that. I believe in respecting the sanctity of the change room and proper process.
“Now that a decision has been made by Justin to resign and given his own public comments and others by Cricket Australia, I can provide some clarity.
“Justin has acknowledged that his style was intense. And it was. He has apologised to players and staff for his intensity. I think the apology was unnecessary. Because the players were OK with JL’s intensity.
“It came from a good place – his fierce love of Australia and the baggy green – something which has served Australian cricket well for three decades.”
Cummins’s statement came after former Australian cricketers including Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden criticised CA over the way Langer was treated when the team had just won a World Cup and the Ashes.
Cummins clarified that Langer’s “intensity was not the issue for the players and the support staff”, before addressing criticism levelled at the outgoing coach by former cricketers.
He added: “We also have a duty to our mates. Many former players have reached out to me and silently offered me their advice which is welcome.
“Some others have spoken in the media – which is also welcome and comes from a love of the game and their support of a mate.
“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.”
Meanwhile, CA announced Australia’s three-match T20 series against New Zealand in March was cancelled “due to New Zealand’s border controls and quarantine requirements”.