Aussie cricket cult figure Mitchell Johnson has turned on his former teammate Pat Cummins in an extraordinary public attack.
Mitchell Johnson and Pat Cummins were once brothers in arms.
Now they are a symbol of the broken Australian men’s cricket team.
Johnson on Sunday turned on his former teammate in an extraordinary public attack, penned in a newspaper column.
Johnson on Saturday took to social media to slam those involved in undermining former coach Justin Langer before the former opening batter’s decision to resign on Saturday.
Johnson was one of countless high profile figures, including former captain Ricky Ponting, in cricket to condemn how Langer has been treated by Cricket Australia (CA) and by the players, who reportedly moved against him.
The 51-year-old was reportedly insulted by an extremely short-term contract extension which was offered to him following Friday’s Cricket Australia board of directors meeting.
Langer’s four-year coaching contract was set to expire in June.
Assistant coach Andrew McDonald has been appointed interim head coach ahead of next month’s Pakistan tour.
Langer was appointed coach in the frenzied turmoil of Australian cricket’s most desperate hour following the infamous ball-tampering saga of March 2018.
He was tasked with the almighty job of restoring pride in the national team.
Langer’s reputation of integrity, honesty and an unapologetically hungry work ethic were celebrated as the cornerstones for rebuilding a team that had lost the faith of the Australian public.
Langer’s tenure has produced mixed results, but he leaves at a time when Australia is the No. 1 ranked test team, reigning World T20 champions and on the back of a 4-0 Ashes victory.
For all the changes made under Langer, the Australian men’s cricket team’s dressing room is being accused of being just as rotten as it appeared during that infamous Tour of South Africa in 2018.
Johnson has now called out the Aussie test captain with a direct accusation for the role he played in Langer’s position becoming untenable.
He was scathing of the public appearances Cummins made in the days leading up to the CA board meeting in which he refused to show support for his embattled coach.
“Pat Cummins has been lauded as some type of cricketing saint since his elevation to the top job this summer. Cummins might have delivered with the ball during the Ashes series, but he has failed his first big test as captain pretty miserably,” Johnson wrote in a column forThe West Australian.
“He had plenty of public opportunities to endorse an extension for Langer. So when he let it through to the keeper every time, it became pretty obvious he didn’t want it to happen.
“Cummins holds a lot of power and must have been central to what’s happened. He’s clearly had an agenda to get in a coach he wants. His recent interviews have been gutless by not respecting his coach when he could have been upfront from the start.”
Johnson also went on to shoot several more thunderbolts at the current dressing room.
“The baggy green is hyped as the most revered symbol in Australian sport. But what does it stand for now? In the wake of the disgraceful white-anting of Langer as coach, which led to his resignation on Saturday, it stands for selfishness,” he wrote.
Jonson says the team has “lost him” and most of the Australian public as well.
He was also damning of the behaviour of the senior officials at the top of Cricket Australia, demanding the resignation of chief executive Nick Hockley.
The board’s failure to stand up to the player unrest or to act on it decisively was the big point of angst among cricket commentators when the news broke on Saturday.
Mickey Arthur, who coached Australia from 2010 to 2013, slammed CA for leaving Langer in limbo, arguing if CA didn’t want him to be the coach long-term it should have just sacked him.
Arthur tweeted: “Disgraceful way to treat a coach … offering 6 months is a slap in the face!
“Either give him a proper extension or move on, by offering 6 months you effectively say you don’t want him but don’t have the balls to fire the bullet!”
Earlier, Ponting and several other legends of the sport hit out at the way Langer was squeezed out.
Speaking on ABC Radio, Ponting suggested Langer had been pushed out of the coaching role after a “small group” of players refused to support him.
“It is a really sad day as far as Australian cricket is concerned and if you look back it has been a really poor six months on the whole in the way that Cricket Australia has handled some of the better people in the Australian cricket — Justin Langer and Tim Paine — and I think it’s been almost embarrassing the way they have handled those two cases,” Ponting said.
“He mustn’t have had the full backing of the board. Me knowing Justin the way that I do, he was very keen to continue in the role, as he should have been after what’s been the best coaching period of his international career having just won the T20 World Cup and then the 4-0 result in the Ashes.
“It seems like a very strange time for a coach to be departing.
“Reading the tea leaves it sounds like a few — and as he says to me a small group in the playing group and a couple of other staff around the team — haven’t entirely loved the way he has gone about it.
“That’s been enough to force a man who has put his life and heart and soul into Australian cricket and done a sensational job at turning around the culture and the way the Australian team has been looked at in the last few years to push him out of the job.”