MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Australia needed a more collaborative, “new style” of coaching, captain Pat Cummins said on Wednesday in his first public comments since the departure of former national team coach Justin Langer.
In the wake of Langer’s resignation on Saturday, Cummins and his team have been lambasted by several retired players for not publicly supporting the coach.
But Cummins said his job as leader was to support the views of his players, not to curry favour with Langer’s erstwhile teammates.
“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,” Cummins said in a lengthy statement released by Cricket Australia (CA).
Langer left after a nearly four-year reign that was widely seen as instilling integrity and discipline in a team that had been disgraced by a ball-tampering scandal against South Africa in 2018.
His tenure culminated in a 4-0 beating of England in the Ashes series that ended last month.
Langer departed after CA offered him a contract extension of only six months. Cummins said Langer’s renowned intensity was not the reason he had only been offered six months, describing the CA position as a “brave call”.
“Justin has acknowledged that his style was intense. And it was. He has apologised to players and staff for his intensity,” Cummins said.
“I think the apology was unnecessary. Because the players were OK with JL’s intensity … and Justin’s intensity drove a better team culture and higher team standards. These are significant legacies.”
According to Cummins, Australian players gave CA feedback over a two-year process that a new coaching style was needed after the excellent foundation provided by Langer.
“We welcome that Cricket Australia invited the players and staff to contribute to CA’s evaluation,” he said.
“CA have made a brave call to transition, given the team has been winning.”
Fast bowler Cummins, who took over as captain in November, expanded on his statement during a media conference in Sydney ahead of a five-match Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka that starts on Friday.
He said the team had enjoyed a “calm” atmosphere recently.
“I think he tweaked his coaching style in the last six months … but we think now is the right time for a different direction,” he said of Langer.
“The players would benefit from a more collaborative approach.”
(Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Himani Sarkar)