Former Australian men's cricket team head coach Justin Langer has come down heavily on those allegedly spreading rumours about his rift with the senior national squad players, saying the "rubbish" floating around should stop immediately as all of them were very close to his heart.
Langer, a former Australia opener, had raised eyebrows recently by criticising unnamed 'cowards' in the Australian setup for leaking information against him while he was in-charge of the side. Langer was coach of the side between 2018 and early 2022 when he was given just a six-month contract renewal by Cricket Australia (CA), thus riling him.
The coach-turner-commentator's final 12 months at the helm were plagued by several reports of players not happy with his coaching methods.
Langer quit in a huff just before the team's departure on the historic Test series against Pakistan this year.
"This rubbish dialogue of me fighting with the current team must stop. Simply because it is not true. They (current Australian players) are my friends. They are like my younger brothers. Anything said to the contrary is false," Langer wrote in his column for the West Australian.
Langer had also reportedly criticised Test and ODI skipper Pat Cummins for failing to give him sufficient feedback. However, the ex-coach distanced himself from comments made on a recent podcast and wrote a newspaper column.
"For four years we drank, ate, celebrated, strategised and lived together. We fought back from 'sandpaper gate' and Covid together and we won the T20 World Cup and Ashes together. Was it always perfect? No, it wasn't. What business, what team is always perfect? I have never met a leader who is every single person's cup of tea. Again, that's life."
Langer has also said he has sent the audio clip of the podcast to Cummins, T20 skipper Aaron Finch and Cricket Australia high-performance manager Ben Horne, stating "contrary to what has been reported, these men I respect and like".
"For the record, I am a great admirer of Pat Cummins. Not only is he an outstanding cricketer but he is also a very good human being," he wrote.