Pat Cummins has claimed there are 'no cowards' in the Australian team after former coach Justin Langer clarified comments over the podcast saga that has overshadowed the beginning of the Test series. 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.
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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. With the former coach's words hanging over the national side as they enter the Test series against West Indies on Wednesday, captain Cummins has claimed there were 'no cowards' in the Aussie team.
Cummins also made a point to acknowledge Langer had clarified several of his comments, including claiming he was not referring to players when he said those who leaked to media were "cowards".
"There's no cowards in the Australian cricket team, not ever," Cummins said. "I thank Justin for clarifying his remarks afterwards.
"He had a think about it and clarified it, so I thank him for that. But we're really proud of the last 12 months, how we've fronted up, the way we've played, the way we've conducted ourselves.
"Players can certainly hold their heads high."
Cummins also made clear he would never air the details of private conversations in public and said there was 'no ill-will' towards his former coach.
"I'd probably never disclose private conversations, but you'd have to ask Justin," Cummins said. "There's no ill will to what he was trying to do and he clarified afterwards.
"I feel like there's so many good things going on at the moment, especially this Test team (being) No.1 in the world. It's disappointing sometimes the focus gets drawn to off-field issues but it hasn't really affected our team."
The Australia captain's comments come just one day out from the first Test against West Indies, with below-average crowds expected in Langer's home town of Perth on Wednesday. Australia will field their regular home line up, with Josh Hazlewood the only man to come in from the team that faced Sri Lanka in Galle in July.
The hosts will also start the battle for the Frank Worrell Trophy as hot favourites, with West Indies having not won a Test in Australia since 1996-97. But with little fanfare or promotion around Perth, much of the focus remains around what reception Australia receive in what is likely to be a largely empty Optus Stadium.
Australia has named a familiar line-up for the first Test of the summer against the West Indies tomorrow, which will see fan favourite Scott Boland miss out. Captain Pat Cummins has confirmed that Boland and Marcus Harris will miss out on selection for the starting XI ahead of the clash at Perth Stadium that is expected to throw up pace and bounce.
The expected line-up will feature Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head and Cameron Green making up the top order. Alex Carey will resume behind the stumps, will the established bowling attack of Cummins, Mitch Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon will start the summer.
Pat Cummins defends his image after the Alinta Energy saga
Meanwhile, Cummins also defended his own image - including claims he had become "too woke" as Australia captain. The skipper created headlines earlier this summer when he pulled out of appearing in ads for Alinta Energy given the team sponsor's carbon footprint.
Australia will also take a knee in this series alongside the West Indies in a push to highlight racial inequalities, an act adopted when the team played in the Caribbean last year.
"In this position, you're always going to upset people," he said.
"We're cricket players, but you can't leave your values at the door. People stand for different things. Taking a knee this week, we're doing it out of respect for the West Indies, in support of equality.
"Anyone who says that's a bad thing, I'm not too bothered about."
Australia haven't played at home since the Ashes series in 2021/22 that ended up in a 4-0 hammering of England. And Khawaja will again lead the attack at the top of the order after a sensational return to the Test arena.
The opener is sitting on 888 runs for the calendar year. He will also be seeking his firth Test century for the year in Perth.
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