Dumped Australian coach Justin Langer has unloaded on Pat Cummins for not being up front with him and the “cowards” who leaked to the media about trouble in the dressing room.
More than nine months after his abrupt exit from the role when he was only offered a short-term extension, Langer has ripped into the Test and one-day skipper for not giving him the feedback he craved.
In an in-depth interview with the Back Chat podcast, he claimed former Test skipper Tim Paine and white-ball captain Aaron Finch had been frank with him when he asked for their feedback but he was frustrated by Cummins’ lack of transparency.
“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,” he said.
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“People say that I’m very intense, but they’re mistaking intensity with honesty.”
Langer said there was a range of people acting against him.
“Everyone was being nice to my face but I was reading about this stuff and half of it, I swear to God and on my kids’ lives, I could not believe that is what was making the papers,” Langer said.
“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. I hate that.”
The ghost of Langer’s coaching career will loom over the Test summer with the former mentor joining the Seven Network’s commentary team this summer, making for the likelihood of the story being a running theme through the season.
Just a week out from Australia’s first Test against West Indies, Langer also questioned how he did not receive a proper extension beyond the six months offered at the end of last summer, after winning the Twenty20 World Cup and Ashes.
Langer said he grew tired of the leaks around his future, adamant it was different to what he was being told by players.
It first became evident that Langer was under pressure to hold onto his job more than 12 months out from his eventual exit, when rumblings began to surface around his intense nature.
“Everyone was being nice to my face but I was reading about this stuff,” Langer said. “A lot of journalists use the word ‘source’. I would say, change that word to ‘coward’.
“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 remains adamant that he acted on feedback from players before last year’s T20 World Cup win, and he should have been rewarded with a proper extension.
In contrast, others claim Langer took a significant back seat through the World Cup in the UAE, and that assistants and players were the driving force.
But Langer said his situation was akin to a player wanting to improve in one format, starring in it, and then being axed because the coaches liked someone else better regardless.
“The hardest thing for me of all of it was: I got the feedback (and) I did something about it,” Langer said.
“We won the T20 World Cup, we won the Ashes. We were No.1 in the world … And I’ve still got sacked.
“You can’t give someone feedback, do something about it, and then that to happen.”