Pat Cummins described Justin Langer as a legend with a “fierce love for Australia” and dismissed speculation that the former Test opening batsman’s intense approach to cricket was the catalyst for his controversial weekend departure as manager at chief.
Cummins, who took over as Australia’s test captain immediately prior to the recent Ashes series against Englandhe was heavily criticized by some high-profile former international players for not publicly endorsing Langer ahead of the manager’s contract negotiations with the board last Friday.
JUST IN: Read Pat Cummins’ full statement here. https://t.co/hwpFqdyl1P
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) February 9, 2022
“Speaking about a decision, which had not yet been made and is to be made by Cricket Australia, would have put Cricket Australia and the team in an impossible position,” Cummins said in a statement released Wednesday ahead of a scheduled news conference. .
“I would never do that.
“I believe in respecting the sanctity of the locker room and due process.” Langer resigned on Saturday and announced the decision through his management company as he traveled to his home across the country from Melbourne to Perth, after turning down a six-month contract extension.
He later issued a statement apologizing if his intensity in the training environment caused problems for the players.
Media reports in mid-2021 suggested that some players were unhappy with Langer’s training approach and sudden mood swings. After meetings between team leaders and management, Langer began to take a less hands-on approach.
Australia subsequently won the Twenty20 World Cup in November and then comprehensively beat England 4–0, missing an Ashes Test series sweep by just one wicket.
Usman Khawaja, who returned to Australia’s test line-up after a two-year absence at the end of the Ashes series last month, said there was no harshness in the locker room and the atmosphere between players and coaches was good.
But in the days after Langer’s decision to resign, the team came under fire amid speculation that Cricket Australia’s decision not to offer a longer contract extension was player-driven.
Cummins said he could now “provide some clarity” after giving Langer and Cricket Australia four days to comment on the matter.
“Justin has recognized that his style was intense. And so it was,” Cummins said.
“He has apologized to the players and staff for his intensity. I think the apology was unnecessary.” Cummins said the players agreed with Langer’s intensity.
“He came from a good place, and his fierce love of Australia and the baggy green (Australia Test cricket cap), something that has served Australian cricket well for three decades,” Cummins said.
“It’s what makes him a legend of the sport. And Justin’s intensity drove a better team culture and higher team standards.”
Cummins said Langer left important legacies and thanked him on behalf of the players.
“More than that, we owe him a lot and Justin will be a welcome face in the locker room in the future,” he said.
“So his intensity was not a problem for the players and support staff.” Cummins is with the Australian team in Sydney preparing for a five-match Twenty20 international series against Sri Lanka.
His statement came a day after Australia announced an 18-man squad for its first Test series in Pakistan since 1998, and the first in four years without Langer.
As well as being among Australia’s elite opening batsmen for a long career, Langer is credited with helping to rebuild and reshape the national team’s culture following the so-called Sandpapergate scandal in 2018.
Australian batsman Cameron Bancroft was caught on television cameras trying to scrape up one side of the ball with sandpaper in the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town in March that year and became one of the lowest points in the Australian sports history.
Bancroft was subsequently suspended by Cricket Australia for nine months. Steve Smith Y david warner, who was captain and vice-captain at the time, were sanctioned for 12 months. Both have since returned as senior batsmen for Australia.