Former Australian men’s coach Justin Langer has rejected suggestions he is at “war” with Pat Cummins and other members of the national team, speaking glowingly of the Test captain.
Langer’s interview with the Backchat podcast this week made waves after he blasted the “cowards” who leaked against him during his final months in charge.
He also spoke about conversations with Cummins and the feedback he was receiving, complaining that the feedback was coming from the media rather than internally at times.
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But declaring there is no rift between the two men, Langer told 7 News Perth: “Ironically, I spoke to Patty on Monday, we had a long talk about how the team was going, how he’s going, how his family’s going. And some of this rubbish is complete and utter rubbish.
“I’ve got so much respect for Patty Cummins, I think he’s a brilliant player, I think he’s an outstanding human being. So any thought there’s war between Patty and I could not be further from the truth.
“There was sort of talk about relating the word coward with Pat Cummins. If you listen to the podcast, I was actually praising Pat, I was praising Finchy, I was praising Tim Paine for giving me the feedback. I was actually complimenting them, not criticising them as it’s come out. It turns into a bushfire, what do you do?”
On the podcast Langer was most scathing of those inside the Australian team who he believed were leaking against him.
“I spoke to Pat Cummins. He said to me about five times, ‘This might be brutally honest’. I said, ‘Pat, there is nothing brutal about your feedback. What is brutal is I’m hearing it behind my back through the media or through sources. No one’s telling me. Tell me’,” Langer said on Backchat.
“Everyone was being nice to my face but I was reading about this stuff, and half of it … I could not believe that is what was making the papers.
“A lot of journalists use the word ‘source’. I would say, change that word to ‘coward’. A coward says, not a source. Because what do you mean ‘a source says’? They’ve either got an axe to grind with someone and they won’t come and say it to your face, or they’re just leaking stuff for their own agenda.”
Langer unloads on ‘coward’ Aussie’s | 02:24
Langer also aired his confusion at being sacked despite changing his methods and then leading Australia to their T20 World Cup and Ashes triumphs.
“We (Cummins and I) texted last night,” Langer said on Thursday. “He was at a Christmas party with his family.
“Steve Smith rang me at lunchtime yesterday, we had a great talk, the vice-captain. Ironically two days before I got half a dozen birthday messages from all the boys. Nathan Lyon sent me a birthday message, Mitch Marsh, all the rest.
“I’ve been in touch with these guys ever since I stopped being in the team and I can’t wait for the Test match to start next week, and the reason I can’t wait is I haven’t seen them. I haven’t seen the boys since I finished in February.”
He continued: “I keep reading about, Langer’s got to let it go, he’s bitter and twisted – oh man. I’ve never been happier in my whole life. I feel really happy, the only thing I’m not happy about is what’s happened in the last few days – it just doesn’t make sense.
“I loved my four years of coaching Australia, it was brilliant. Didn’t end as I would’ve liked – that’s life, that’s the business, it’s a tough business. I’ve got fond memories.
“Those guys we’re talking about, I ate with them, I drank with them, I celebrated with them, we got through Covid together, we got through sandpaper together, we won the World Cup together, we won the Ashes together. They’re like my little brothers!”