Melbourne, Nov 25 (IANS): Former Australia men's cricket team head coach Justin Langer has rubbished claims that he was in a conflict with Test and ODI skipper Pat Cummins following fiery claims by the ex-opener that he was betrayed by 'cowards' at Cricket Australia (CA).
In a widely-publicised interview, the former Australia opener indicated he felt let down by senior players such Pat Cummins and Aaron Finch, which eventually led him to step down as head coach.
Langer had quit days before the team's scheduled departure for the historic Test series against Pakistan earlier this year after CA just gave him a six-month contract extension.
Some seniors in the side were reportedly not happy with Langer's micromanagement of the team and things came to a head on a couple of occasions during the final 12 months of his contract.
Langer recently slammed Cummins on a podcast for going behind his back, and that "he grew tired of the leaks around his future" when his contract was up for renewal, resulting in all the negativity.
However, Langer has now insisted that the rumours of a rift with Cummins are "utter rubbish".
"Ironically, I spoke to Patty (Cummins) on Monday; we had a long talk about how the team was going, how he's going, how his family's going. And some of this rubbish is complete and utter rubbish," Langer told Channel 7 News Perth, according to a report in Daily Mail.
"I've got so much respect for Patty Cummins, I think he's a brilliant player, I think he's an outstanding human being. So any thought there's war between Patty and I could not be further from the truth."
Langer had initially said in a podcast which raised quite a storm, that, "I spoke to Pat Cummins. He said to me about five times, 'This might be brutally honest'. I said, 'Pat, there is nothing brutal about your feedback. What is brutal is I'm hearing it behind my back through the media or through sources. No one's telling me. Tell me'.
"Everyone was being nice to my face but I was reading about this stuff," Langer said. "A lot of journalists use the word 'source'. I would say, change that word to 'coward'. Because what do you mean a source says? They've either got an axe to grind with someone and they won't come and say it to your face, or they're just leaking stuff for their own agenda," Langer had said in the podcast.
However, Langer clarified on Channel 7 that the word "coward" was taken out of context.
"There was sort of talk about relating the word coward with Pat Cummins. If you listen to the podcast, I was actually praising Pat (Cummins), I was praising (Aaron) Finchy, I was praising Tim Paine for giving me the feedback. I was actually complimenting them, not criticising them as it's come out. It turns into a bushfire, what do you do?"