What Australia just found out about Pat Cummins

4 months ago 122
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Test captain Pat Cummins will doubtless face sterner examinations on the field than that posed by the touring England team this summer, but the off-field events of the last week have shown he's the right man for the job.

Australia's perceived reluctance to hand the leadership to a fast bowler had seen former skipper Steve Smith mentioned by some as the man to replace Tim Paine, but it's already clear the decision to appoint Cummins is one of the few things Cricket Australia has got right in recent times.

While head office made a complete mess of the situation surrounding Justin Langer's future, Cummins' comments yesterday exhibited the type of leadership the sport has been lacking.

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In the wake of a spate of disastrous headlines, with former greats criticising both CA and Cummins himself, the 28-year-old broke his silence with words as effective as any spell of bowling he's delivered.

Cummins' former teammate Mitchell Johnson was the most outspoken, labelling the skipper "gutless" for his part in Langer's axing.

Pat Cummins, Justin Langer. (Getty)

"I can't believe a fast bowler's having a go at me," Cummins smiled, defusing the situation with ease.

"Look, he's just standing up for his mates. I absolutely disagree with what he said, but no he hasn't reached out. But that's fine, he's entitled to his opinion, he's standing up for his mate, but I can hold my head up high so I'm fine."

Adam Gilchrist, a close mate of Langer's, appears to have been won over by Cummins' words, having called the situation "pathetic" on Sunday, this morning he tweeted his support for the captain.

"Thought @patcummins30 spoke really well yesterday," he wrote.

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan never misses an opportunity to take a shot at an Australian, but he's also a fan of the new skipper.

"Pat Cummins inside 4 months as a Captain has shown exactly how to do it," Vaughan tweeted.

"Today's press conference was a masterclass in delivering empathy with clarity to why things have happened … he just knows how to do it."

Along with Gilchrist, the likes of Ricky Ponting, Steve Waugh and Matthew Hayden, all giants of the game, had publicly backed Langer, their former teammate.

"There's been a lot of emotion flying around," Cummins said.

"I think, added to the feedback, you've got to take it in that kind of context. They're all people I really respect, so I listen to them for sure. And I'd welcome chatting to any one of them directly about feedback and thoughts I have.

Mitchell Johnson slammed Pat Cummins as "gutless". (Getty)

"But we're custodians of the Australian cricket team. It's not forever, and we just want to do what's best, and me as captain, I want to do what's best for Australian cricket, what's best for this team.

"That's the responsibility I've been given, and I take that really seriously. I think the reality is, with some of those comments, the Aussie cricket team is full of cricket players. That's our job and in fairness, the 11 players, they're the guys who are out there on the field, so absolutely I think it's fair we get a say."

While interim CA chair Richard Freudenstein has been silent through the fiasco of the last week, and CEO Nick Hockley ineffective at dousing the flames, Cummins has stood tall through the mess.

Justin Langer (Getty)

It was clear in recent weeks that he no longer wanted Langer in charge, having had a number of opportunities to publicly back the coach and failing to do so.

Unlike football, in cricket the coach is merely a member of the support staff, and in a stand-off with the players there can only be one winner.

"I've got a very harmonious change room, a clearly motivated group of people and that's where my responsibility lies," Cummins said.

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