Former Australian captain Mark Taylor has urged current and past players to break bread and inject some positivity into the nation’s elite cricket image.
Taylor’s comments on Nine’s Sports Sunday come days after former men’s head coach Justin Langer again aired his dirty laundry in public and lambasted “cowards” who he blames for his downfall earlier this year.
Langer was offered a six-month contract extension by Cricket Australia but chose to walk away from the job following the home Ashes series, although he has repeatedly suggested he was sacked – a furphy corrected by the governing body.
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The way in which he exited the chair has driven a wedge between past players and the current group – namely Test and ODI captain Pat Cummins, who some have accused of white-anting his coach out of the job.
Langer name-dropped Cummins in a new podcast last week and suggested “cowards” within the Australian camp leaked stories about his coaching style to the media, damaging his image and leading to the decision to only offer a short-term extension.
The fact the issue has entered headlines again on the eve of Australia’s Test summer – which begins Wednesday in Langer’s home city of Perth against the West Indies – has many concerned Langer is casting a dark cloud over the national team by raking over old graves and refusing to let the grudge die.
Taylor is worried the ugly episode has tarnished the game’s brand globally.
“(It has) probably (damaged Langer’s reputation) a little bit. But Justin is a combative guy, he’s a fighter – he was as a cricketer, was as a coach. So it’s his personality,” Taylor told Sports Sunday.
“If he’s got a cross to bear he wants to let people know, so he comes out with it.
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“The only thing I would say to Justin, or to players, or to administrators in general, is I’d like to see everyone just think a little bit more about Australian cricket – and I don’t mean Cricket Australia, I mean Australian cricket – before they make comment.
“It’s not great for the brand of Australian cricket.
“Let’s have a bit more positivity around Australian cricket. Less thought about individual brands, and a bit more about the team brand or the nation brand.”
Since the podcast aired Langer has gone on record to clarify he doesn’t have a personal issue with Cummins.
Another Australian fast bowler, Mitchell Starc, on Saturday moved to rubbish rumours of a rift between players and the former coach.
“We exchanged a few text messages post-World Cup, so as far as I’m concerned I’m pretty comfortable with how my relationship is with JL,” Starc said.
“I wouldn’t call us (cowards).”
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