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Captain ‘sticks up for his mates’ in a statement saying Langer leaves a ‘significant legacy’ but the players needed ‘a new style of coaching and skill set’ moving forward

Test captain Pat Cummins has defended Australia players following significant criticism in the wake of coach Justin Langer‘s resignation.
Cricket Australia issued a lengthy statement on behalf of Cummins on Wednesday in response to a wave of criticism that has been levelled at him and Australia’s players following Langer’s resignation.
A raft of former players, many of whom are Langer’s former team-mates have criticised Cummins for his role in the saga after Langer noted in his resignation letter that media reports had suggested “several senior players and a couple of support staff” did not support him continuing on as coach and that he accepted that decision.
Cummins is due to hold a press conference on Wednesday afternoon to speak for the first time since Langer resigned on Saturday. Team-mates Alex Carey and Usman Khawaja have both spoken publicly in the last two days as did Australia’s chairman of selectors George Bailey.

Cummins, who was consulted by CA on Langer’s contract prior to the six-month extension being tabled to him last Friday, took umbrage at criticism of him not endorsing the coach.

“There has been much public comment since Justin Langer’s resignation as the coach of the Australian cricket team,” Cummins said in the statement. “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.

“It’s what makes him a legend of the sport. And Justin’s intensity drove a better team culture and higher team standards. These are significant Justin Langer legacies. And on behalf of the players, I thank Justin. More than that, we owe him a lot and Justin will be a welcome face in the change room in the future. So, his intensity was not the issue for the players and the support staff.”

Cummins went on to explain why he had requested to CA that the players wanted a fresh voice as coach moving forward.

“The question is: what is the best style of coaching for the future, given how the team has evolved?” Cummins said.

“We have been very well schooled in how to play cricket in the right way – in the correct Australian way. We understand the importance of always playing to the highest ethical standards. And the players need no motivation as I’ve never played with more motivated cricketers. To be better players for Australia, from this solid foundation, we need a new style of coaching and skill set.

“This was the feedback the players gave to Cricket Australia. And it’s the feedback I understand support staff also gave. We welcome that Cricket Australia invited the players and staff to contribute to CA’s evaluation. I add that as professional sportspeople we would have accepted any decision CA were to make because that’s what professionals do.

“CA have made a brave call to transition, given the team has been winning. Finally, we are custodians of cricket, with one very big thing in common: our first duty is to Australian cricket, which is bigger than any one of us. I take this responsibility seriously. I live and breathe it. 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.”

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo