Pat Cummins has revealed how players were 'on tenterhooks' around Justin Langer before his ugly departure as Aussie cricket coach. Langer stepped down from his role early last year after being offered a six-month contract extension, which he viewed as an insult considering he'd led Australia to Ashes and World Cup glory just prior.
His exit sparked a wave of anger around Australia, with a number of cricket greats slamming the way he was treated. The first season of Amazon documentary 'The Test' seemed to be the catalyst for Langer's downfall, with a number of conversations between himself and players captured.
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The players had expressed reservations about Langer's intense style, which he attempted to tone down before ultimately falling on his sword. And with season two of the documentary set to be released on Friday, new details have come to light.
Players and members of the media were shown the first two episodes at a launch in Sydney on Monday night. In a montage in the first episode, Cummins tells viewers that players were on 'tenterhooks' around the coach.
“Players and staff really crave consistency,” Cummins says. “Over the last couple of years, there were times when the environment just wasn’t that.
“Some people felt like they were walking on eggshells. The players wanted to create their own environment and it’s us taking responsibility for the team.”
Usman Khawaja says: “There was plenty of guys who don’t speak up, who don’t talk, and were afraid of JL. That’s the truth.”
Nathan Lyon adds: “I’ve always said you can never criticise someone who is extremely passionate in what they do, and that’s exactly what JL is. Did I struggle with some of the ups and downs? Yeah. Probably the biggest feedback from myself was just emotional levels (from) JL.”
Several players reveal how Langer attempted to change his approach, with Ashton Agar saying: “It was sort of at the point where JL realised he had to pull back massively and he did that.” Mitch Marsh adds: “JL was given feedback from the senior players in our group around certain things they wanted him to improve on I guess as a coach. He listened and he did everything that was asked of him as the playing group.”
Pat Cummins speaks out at 'The Test' premiere
Speaking to AAP at the premiere on Monday night, Cummins said he hopes the new season of the documentary helps ease the anger around Langer's departure. "We're all at peace with it. The way it's told is pretty accurate to how it all played out," he said.
"A lot of these things publicly and outside the group get really heated and can be really divisive. Hopefully with the cameras inside the group you get a bit more context and it's not divisive. Seeing it objectively there is a little less heat and emotion involved in the situation as opposed to what might get played out in the papers and conversations."
Langer had lashed out over the manner in which he was treated in several interviews earlier this summer. Cummins said on Monday night: "What will come across hopefully is that we are a team that is really motivated.
"We finished the Ashes series and the next big thing that came across was Pakistan. And rightly or wrongly, the nature of sport is we all move on pretty quickly."
This second season of 'The Test' centres more around the players' stories than the first. Viewers get at-home insights on Cummins, Khawaja and Scott Boland while maintaining dressing-room footage.
"Cricket is a small part of all our lives," Cummins said. "Seeing people in their natural environment, it gives a bit more context to who we are as people and what makes us tick."
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