Breaking his silence on Justin Langer’s strong criticism of the Australian team, Test captain Pat Cummins has defended his side saying there are ‘no cowards’ in the dressing room. Former coach Langer had made explosive comments in a podcast interview, attacking the “cowards” who were not transparent about the feedback leading up to his messy exit earlier this year despite a successful Ashes campaign and the 2021 T20 WC victory.
As such, the build up to the Test series opener between Australia and West Indies in Perth has been hijacked by Langer’s lashing which Cummins said was ‘disappointing’ to be given so much focus instead of the actual cricket.
“There’s no cowards in Australian cricket, not ever,” Cummins told reporters on the eve of the first Test. “I’d probably never disclose private conversations. I think it’s disappointing sometimes the focus gets drawn to off-field issues but it hasn’t really affected our team.”
On his part, Langer did later attempt to clarify his remarks and said that the current players were like “younger brothers” to him.
“I think there’s no ill will to what he was trying to do and he clarified afterwards,” Cummins said at Optus Stadium. “I think he had a think about it and clarified it, so thank him for that. But we’re really proud of the last 12 months, how we’ve fronted up, the way we’ve played, the way we’ve conducted ourselves. Players can certainly hold their heads high.”
Cummins noted that there was no bad blood between the two and said he was “looking forward” to seeing Langer, a local hero in Perth, around for the match.
“He’ll be in and around here commentating so it’ll be good,” Cummins said. “We love playing here at the stadium. My idol mentor, DK Lillee as well, it’s his home state.
“We haven’t felt that at all,” he added when asked if the Australia team was out of favour in Western Australia. “I know there’s been some conjecture but I think it camouflages over a lot of the good stuff that’s been going on and support we’ve been receiving.”
Shifting the focus back on to cricket, Cummins announced the playing XI for the first Test against West Indies. Of the 13-man squad, pacer Scott Boland and opener Marcus Harris have been left out while allrounder Cameron Green is set to play his first Test at home.
“To be honest it is the most stable team I have played in ever,” Cummins said. “You could probably have picked the side 12 months ago, I feel like we are in a good spot.”