Tight-lipped Pat Cummins in awkward Kochie confrontation

·4-min read
Australia Test skipper Pat Cummins had to fend off some determined questioning from Sunrise host David Koch over the future of head coach Justin Langer. Pictures: Channel 7
Australia Test skipper Pat Cummins had to fend off some determined questioning from Sunrise host David Koch over the future of head coach Justin Langer. Pictures: Channel 7

Australian cricket captain Pat Cummins remained tight-lipped about the future of coach Justin Langer during an awkward interview with David Koch.

The Sunrise host was determined not to let Cummins off the hook with an easy answer when the Australian skipper, fresh from the Ashes series victory, appeared on Sunrise on Friday morning.

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The future of Langer has been a hot topic, with six month of speculation leading up to Friday's Cricket Australia board meeting, where the fate of the former Test batsman would be discussed.

Langer's current deal is set to expire in June, but a potential extension is yet to be locked in amid talk of fractures developing between the coach and playing group over the last two years.

Langer has pointed to Australia's on-field performances during his tenure as reasons why he should be retained, including the recent Ashes and T20 World Cup triumphs.

But it has become clear in recent months that there is more than just the on-field aspect at play, with reports that Langer has lost the dressing room.

Cummins was tight-lipped when asked about the coaching situation by reporters on Thursday, declining to throw his full support behind Langer and instead saying it was a decision for Cricket Australia.

Speaking to Koch on Sunrise, Cummins again said he would 'leave the speculation aside' when asked if he personally would renew Langer's deal.

Koch was clearly not satisfied with this response, pressing the Test skipper further.

"Pat, Pat, Pat. We know in cricket, more than any other sport, the captain has an enormous say. Are you happy to have Justin re-sign?" he asked.

Cummins though, still wouldn't be drawn - saying he had been a part of the 'evaluation process' but again insisted the final decision was out of his hands.

Koch had another bite of the cherry, pointing to Australia's strong record under Langer since he took over in the wake of the 2018 sandpaper scandal, though he admitted Langer's 'intense' style was a drawback.

In response, Cummins said the process was simply how modern sport worked.

"It’s also fact we’re in a high-performance scenario where everyone gets evaluated all the time," Cummins said.

"His contract is up so they’re just running the process at the moment which I think is incredibly healthy and fair.

"I know everyone is wanting an urgent decision but I’m sure Cricket Australia will make that soon.”

Cummins refuses to be drawn on support for Justin Langer

Langer can argue on-field performances warrant an extension, meaning any decision outside of him retaining the role will be a hard sell to the public.

But it has also become clear the focus will be on Langer himself rather than the team's results.

His intense and old-school direct nature has come under heavy scrutiny and was a key sticking point for players when the issue came to a head in August and prompted high-powered meetings.

The coach has since made a point to relinquish some control at the request of management, noted by both himself and others during the T20 World Cup success.

Australian men's cricket coach Justin Langer was reportedly furious after substitute fielder Nathan Ellis wore a watch onto the field earlier this year. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)
Australian men's cricket coach Justin Langer's contract is up this June. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

Test captain Cummins and white-ball counterpart Aaron Finch have both spoken to CA hierarchy since the end of Australia's 4-0 Ashes series win.

"It lies in Cricket Australia's hands," Cummins told reporters when asked if he had the players' support and if that would be definitive in the matter.

"JL has been doing a fantastic job. He has been there for four years.

"His contract is obviously up soon. So they're just going through an evaluation process at the moment which I think is fair and the right thing to do.

"We all get evaluated all the time as cricketers, it's part of a high-performance environment."

With AAP

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