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Australian cricket captain Pat Cummins’s claim the team needs a new direction is unlikely to end a torrent of criticism by ex-players and commentators such as Andrew Bolt that the players are running the show.
During a press conference yesterday explaining why he had not publicly backed former coach Justin Langer, Cummins gave a sharp reply to his critics.
‘To all former players, I want to say this, just as you have always stuck up for your mates, I am sticking up for my mates,’ he said.
Cummins’ response came after days of being slammed by former Test players, including Mitchell Johnson and Matthew Hayden.
Johnson had described Cummins’ as ‘gutless’ for not publicly supporting Langer.
Former captain and vice-captain Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist mainly directed barbs at Cricket Australia.
‘Still can’t get over what a pathetic day for Australian Cricket yesterday was,’ Gilchrist tweeted the day after Langer resigned.
Australian cricket Test captain Pat Cummins addresses the media on Wednesday about Justin Langer’s resignation
‘I know at the end of it [Langer] feels he wasn’t fairly treated and that’s not on and we can learn from that [but] I can say I don’t think he should be surprised,’ Cummins said of his former coach (pictured together) yesterday
Andrew Bolt said former Australian coach Justin Langer’s treatment had been ‘humiliating and shameful’
Commentators such as Bolt and Alan Jones have also weighed in on the controversy, with Bolt recently writing Langer’s treatment had been ‘humiliating and shameful’.
‘What coach could have done more than take a shattered and humiliated team, tarnished by a shameful cheating scandal, and turn them back into world-beaters?’ Bolt wrote in the Herald-Sun after Langer announced his resignation.
‘If these unnamed senior players thought Langer was hard to get along with, how much harder have they been on Langer?’
Jones on Wednesday said Langer had been the victim of ‘utterly dysfunctional sports administration’.
‘This is the bloke who has taken Australia to a T20 World Cup, an Ashes victory, the Test team in now Number 1 in the world, he has been selected as the Wisden Coach of the Year, and only last week inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame,’ Jones posted to Facebook.
‘But [Cricket Australia CEO] Hockley and co want ‘a more collaborative and less autocratic approach’, which is shorthand for saying we want a coach who does what the players want.
‘No self-respecting coach can embrace that strategy and expect to win.’
While reaction to Cummins’s comments yesterday that the Australian team ‘would benefit from a more collaborative approach’ has mostly been positive, that opinion was not unanimous.
‘Could have just added ‘and that’s the bottom line cause Pat Cummins said so’ at the end,’ Cricbuzz writer Bharat Sundaresan tweeted.
Sky News host Chris Kenny said while Australia’s players were ‘doing us proud, the administrators are doing a shocking job’.
One of his guests, writer Justin Smith, said he loved Pat Cummins as Australian captain.
‘But [Cummins] said we’re looking at a new direction, well, we just won the Ashes, so I’m not sure what the new direction might be,’ he said.
Langer’s departure came after a recent run of success for the team, including an Ashes series victory over England (pictured) and the T20 World Cup earlier in 2021
Yesterday Cummins balanced praise of Langer’s role in restoring respect in the team after the 2018 Sandpapergate scandal during Australia’s tour of South Africa with subtle swipes at the former mentor’s inflexibility.
‘After the success of the last couple of months, it became, ‘Do we think it’s sustainable?” he told reporters.
‘There are various opinions on that but we thought it was the right time to make a change.
‘I think players would benefit from a more collaborative approach… a big theme of this summer was being more calm, more composed.
‘And that’s been really clear in the feedback from players, support staff and Cricket Australia… that’s the direction we want to take the team.’
Cummins said the desire of players for a new direction should not have been ‘a surprise’ to the coach.
‘I know at the end of it JL feels he wasn’t fairly treated and that’s not on and we can learn from that [but] I can say I don’t think he should be surprised,’ Cummins said.
Former Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson labelled Cummins as ‘gutless’ for not publicly supporting Langer
Cricbuzz writer Bharat Sundaresan tweeted his view that Pat Cummins had got his way with Langer’s resignation
‘It’s been two years of evaluations… as player we get 360 reviewed all the time, our strengths, weaknesses are poked and prodded all the time.’
The captain also addressed criticism from the likes of former speedster Johnson.
‘I can’t believe another fast bowler is having a go at me,’ he joked.
‘I absolutely disagree with this opinion but that’s fine, he’s standing up for his mate. But I can hold my head high so I’m fine.’
Cummins said he knew he would face criticism when he took over the captaincy.
‘I’ve canvassed a lot of the players, I’ve spent a lot of time in this environment and I think I have pretty good grasp on what’s going to work best,’ he said.
‘I honestly think this change is right and it’s what is needed.’
Source: Daily Mail