Mitchell Johnson under fire over 'gutless' Pat Cummins attack

Pictured left is former Aussie fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, with Pat Cummins on the right.
Cricket Australia's CEO says Mitchell Johnson's (left) criticism of Pat Cummins (R) was not merited. Pic: Getty

Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley says Mitchell Johnson's brutal swipe at Pat Cummins over the Australian coaching saga was "unfair".

Over the weekend, Test great Johnson penned a a scathing column for The West Australian, in which he labelled Cummins "gutless" and claimed the Aussie skipper played a huge role in the exit of national coach, Justin Langer.

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Langer resigned as head coach of the Australian men's cricket team on Saturday after rejecting a six-month extension tabled to him by the Cricket Australia (CA) board.

Assistant coach Andrew McDonald has been appointed interim head coach ahead of next month’s Pakistan tour.

Several Aussie cricket greats have slammed Cummins for failing to endorse a long-term contract extension for Langer, with Johnson particularly scathing in his column.

Pictured left is Aussie cricket captain Pat Cummins and Test great Mitchell Johnson on the right.
Pat Cummins was slammed by Mitchell Johnson over the Justin Langer coaching saga. Pic: Getty/AAP

“Pat Cummins has been lauded as some type of cricketing saint since his elevation to the top job this summer," Johnson wrote.

"Cummins might have delivered with the ball during the Ashes series, but he has failed his first big test as captain pretty miserably.

“He had plenty of public opportunities to endorse an extension for Langer. So when he let it through to the keeper every time, it became pretty obvious he didn’t want it to happen.

“Cummins holds a lot of power and must have been central to what’s happened. He’s clearly had an agenda to get in a coach he wants. His recent interviews have been gutless by not respecting his coach when he could have been upfront from the start.”

However, the CA boss has leapt to the defence of the Aussie captain by insisting Johnson's comments were wide of the mark.

“I think throughout the process, Pat has been very respectful (of Langer) and he’s also been very respectful of the private and confidential discussions we’ve had as we’ve consulted really broadly,” Hockley told NewsCorp.

“Pat was certainly consulted... but his feedback was one of a broad amount of consultation.

“I think for Mitchell to be critical of Pat (is unfair) and any direct criticism of Pat is not merited.

“I thought that Mitchell Johnson’s comments were unfair and not merited or reflective of the situation."

Hockley also defended CA's handling of the drawn-out coaching saga, which was branded as "embarrassing" by former Aussie captain Ricky Ponting.

“There has been some discussion about did we let this … has it dragged out,” he told NewsCorp.

“But I would say emphatically that we needed to make sure that with big decisions like this, that we run a thorough process.

“If we tried to do it during the Ashes it would have been a big distraction and we wouldn’t have been able to do it properly.

CA slammed over 'embarrassing' saga

Ponting called Langer's departure a "really sad day" for Australian cricket and insisted the whole saga was not handled well by CA.

“It is a really sad day as far as Australian cricket is concerned and if you look back it has been a really poor six months on the whole in the way that Cricket Australia has handled some of the better people in the Australian cricket — Justin Langer and Tim Paine — and I think it’s been almost embarrassing the way they have handled those two cases,” Ponting said.

Former Australian men's cricket coach Justin Langer is seen posing for a photo with his wife in the image on the right.
Justin Langer admits his tumultuous stint as coach of the Australian men's cricket team took a massive toll on his family. Pic: Getty/AAP

“He mustn’t have had the full backing of the board. Me knowing Justin the way that I do, he was very keen to continue in the role, as he should have been after what’s been the best coaching period of his international career having just won the T20 World Cup and then the 4-0 result in the Ashes.

“It seems like a very strange time for a coach to be departing.

“Reading the tea leaves it sounds like a few — and as he says to me a small group in the playing group and a couple of other staff around the team — haven’t entirely loved the way he has gone about it.

“That’s been enough to force a man who has put his life and heart and soul into Australian cricket and done a sensational job at turning around the culture and the way the Australian team has been looked at in the last few years to push him out of the job.”

with AAP

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