Former Test captain Michael Clarke has urged Pat Cummins to tell the truth – even if it’s ugly – about the demise of Justin Langer as national coach.
Langer resigned last week after being offered a mere six-month contract extension despite leading Australia to the T20 World Cup title and a 4-0 Ashes romp.
Past players, including Mark Waugh, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting, Steve Waugh, and Matthew Hayden, have lambasted Cricket Australia for its handling of the situation.
The silence from the current batch of senior Australian cricket stars has been deafening, which has further inflamed the situation.
Former Test star Mitchell Johnson savaged Cummins last week, saying his former teammate had failed in his first big test as captain.
Clarke says Cummins is in a “lose-lose” situation, but the star paceman has a responsibility to be truthful about exactly what went down.
“The Australian public aren’t stupid and this is my point with Pat Cummins,” Clarke told the Big Sports Breakfast.
“Patty needs to come out and make his opinion very clear.
“I saw Mitchell Johnson’s comments, he smoked him. I think a lot of people are thinking what Mitch is thinking.
“My question is how much involvement did Pat have? Did he want this change and, (if so), why? Bring on accountability.
“When you lose, that’s on you as captain. If this is what Patty wants, respect to him but he’s going to have to take the hits as well.”
Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley launched a passionate defence of Cummins in the wake of Johnson’s comments.
But Clarke said if CA didn’t come clean about their reasons for not wanting Langer to stay on long term, they would risk repeating the same mistakes from the aftermath of the sandpaper scandal in South Africa.
“We kept so much information away from the public, it’s never going to die,” Clarke said.
“There’s still questions. This will be the same if it’s not handled the right way.
“At the moment there is so much unknown, so many Chinese whispers, people hiding behind a journalist or a manager, it doesn’t work like that with cricket in this country.
“That’s fine if senior players want JL gone. Say it and be honest. It’s fine if support staff wanted JL gone.
“Stand there and tell us the reasons.”
Australian Cricketers’ Association chief executive Todd Greenberg insists it wasn’t player power that got rid of Langer.
“We’re not at the decision making table when they make these decisions, and nor should we be,” Greenberg told SEN.
“They (the players) certainly have a strong voice, and I think that’s healthy.
“But you can’t over reach on that voice, because ultimately there’s a range of other considerations on contracts and other issues for appointments like this.”
Greenberg hopes the former players who have been critical about the way CA treated Langer will be consulted during the process to find a new head coach.
He said Cummins should also play a role.
“He should have a strong view. He’s the Australian captain,” Greenberg said.
“Whether or not he makes the actual decision – I think that’s a long bow to stretch.
“He’ll have a view, he should have a view, and I think Cricket Australia will welcome those views.”