Players are moving on but fans have a new captain in sight

Pat Cummins’ statement on why he wanted Justin Langer out as the Australian manager began an uneasy truce with the old guard, accepting the new skipper had made it through. But where the messy breakup leaves Cummins’ relationship with fans is less certain.

On Thursday, Michael Vaughan, Mike Hussey, Michael Atherton, Adam Gilchrist and Greg Chappell were among those who praised Pat Cummins for his statements a day earlier – variously using words such as ‘masterclass’, ‘impressive’ and ‘proud’ to describe the skipper’s statement, which was backed up by his press conference.

But take a look at the social media posts or comments section of any sports page, or listen to enough talk radio, and it’s not even close – there’s an overwhelming — conservatively an 80-20 split — of support for Langer and disappointment to disgust. in the way the former coach was treated.

Until Cummins spoke on Wednesday, much of the anger was aimed at Cricket Australia, almost as if there was disbelief that the players were actively opposing the man who won a Cup victory. world T20 and the triumph of the Ashes.

What many believed to be a media invention, or at least a media beating, turned out to be the truth when Cummins left no doubt that he had wanted a new coach, while finding time to congratulate Langer for what he had done while evolving. the team and the game after the Cape Town scandal.

It’s been an intriguing 10 days for Cummins and the state of his relationship with cricket fans.

On Friday, he will enter the SCG for the first of five T20 internationals against Sri Lanka. With matches in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, quiet heads should prevail, but perhaps it’s a very good thing that Cummins doesn’t have to play in Perth at the moment.

Cummins faced a lot of criticism from former players ahead of his press conference, where he made it clear he was standing up for his friends. The obvious implication here is that the team wanted out of Langer.

(Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Hussey’s comments to RSN radio on Thursday spoke volumes.

An interview that was progressing down an expected path took a thorny detour when the host asked Hussey about Langer’s cronies’ outrage over current players.

While there is a growing rift between the fans and their captain, it has nothing to do with the chasm that currently exists between today’s team and the early 2000s cohort, including Hussey. , Adam Gilchrist and Shane Warne.

Hussey was asked if he was surprised by the “anger of former players, great Australian players towards current players”.

“Maybe a little, I guess,” Hussey said. “I also put myself in this boat. We are great friends of Justin and we know what kind of guy he is, he is so passionate and looking from the outside you think he did a fantastic job.

“We also know the character he is and he’s a very good person. I’m sure if you asked any of these current players they would all say he’s a great person with morals and excellent values ​​and that he taught them a lot.

“What will hurt JL the most is a bit of disloyalty behind the scenes, and a bit of stabbing in the back and leaking to the media, because he’s a loyal person and stands up for his friends.

“I’m not surprised, but it’s been quite outrageous from a lot of guys.”

Despite this, Hussey was impressed with how Cummins handled the situation.

“It’s the hardest thing he’s had to face in his reign as captain, the first real challenge,” Hussey said. “I was actually quite proud of him. Him advancing towards the plate.

“That’s the only thing that disappointed me – there was a lack of transparency throughout this case.

“I wanted to know what was really going on because as an outsider looking inward you think ‘how the hell do they make that decision about Justin Langer’ because the team is winning he’s done everything they asked stepping back.

“There are obviously things going on in that inner sanctum that they’re not happy with, so it was good for him to stand up and provide more clarity on what’s going on, but also be respectful to JL.

“Pat Cummins stands up and faces these tough questions and is open and honest about how he feels…it’s a really good start.

“I don’t like players having too much power, but the relationship between coach and captain is really important and Pat obviously doesn’t think Justin is the right person to take the team forward.”

Head coach Justin Langer shakes hands with Australia's Pat Cummins after the match ended in a draw on day five of the fourth Ashes Series Test match between Australia and England at the Sydney Cricket Ground on January 09, 2022 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Cummins has been praised for his outspoken approach by others.

“He is an impressive young man. I have no doubt we have a wonderful captain and leader in Pat,” former skipper Greg Chappell told SEN on Thursday.

“No one would have been happy with what has happened in recent weeks. I think he covered things extremely well…hope everyone can move on.

Michael Vaughan, who was stunned to learn that the Langer was deemed surplus to requirements for Australia and strongly backed him as a potential England manager, was also impressed with the response from Cummins, calling it “a master class in empathy.”

“He’s our skipper,” replied David Warner.

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