Mitchell Starc has spoken out in the wake of bombshell comments from former Australia coach Justin Langer, insisting there is no ill will between Langer and the current playing group. The saga around Langer continues to bring unwanted headlines just days out from the first Test of the summer against West Indies, with the former coach again hitting the front pages on Saturday.
In a column in the West Australian, Langer denied there had been any falling out with his former team and again rejected the notion he had been too intense as coach. His column came after a week in the headlines caused by comments made on a podcast, in which he labelled sources who had leaked to the media during his tenure as 'cowards' and lamented a supposed lack of honest feedback from senior players.
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His comments drew a sharp retort from Cricket Australia, with CEO Nick Hockley moving to defend the players and their organisation's feedback to the ex-coach. But the situation appears far from over.
Langer will be in commentary for Channel 7 this summer, with the first Test beginning on Wednesday in his home town of Perth. The Aussie team is said to be 'on the nose' with the cricket fans in the west due to the way in which Langer left his role as coach.
But speaking on Saturday, Starc insisted the team had not spoken about the issue and he was not fazed by the drama. He also confirmed he had been in contact with Langer in recent weeks and had no issue with the former coach.
"(It's) not really (been addressed)," Starc said. "It was mentioned that there could be some noise around it, being in the west and JL having a commentary spot. And that was the extent of it.
"I don't read media stuff. I hear things around the traps but as a group it's outside noise from what everyone else makes of it, we're pretty comfortable.
"For us, it's all (about) preparation for this Test match. Not too much is going to distract us outside of that."
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Langer has a strong following in Western Australia and is one of the state's favourite sons. Amid some poor attendance figures during the T20 World Cup and ODI series against England, questions are being asked as to whether Langer's treatment has turned fans off the Aussie side.
"You'd have to ask the locals (if we're on the nose)," Starc said. "It's Test cricket. We're starting the summer in Perth. Which is normally at the Gabba. So big opportunity.
"Optus Stadium is a fantastic place to play cricket. When we do get the chance to play here it's a good one for the players. There's been a lot of talk about not having Test cricket here for a long time (through the Covid-19 pandemic). So hopefully the public can come and support that and show us what Test cricket means to them, and hopefully we can put on a good show for the west."
Starc's comments came after Langer had earlier claimed he was trying to pour cold water on claims of a rift between the team, himself and former players.
"This rubbish dialogue of me fighting with the current team must stop. Simply because it is not true," Langer wrote. "They are my friends. They are like my younger brothers. Anything said to the contrary is false.
"For four years we drank, ate, celebrated, strategised and lived together. We fought back from 'sandpaper gate' and Covid together and we won the T20 World Cup and Ashes together."
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