Test captain Pat Cummins has fired back at former coach Justin Langer's claim that he was undermined by leaks, saying there are "no cowards" in the Australian team.
The first Test between Australia and West Indies starting on Wednesday has been overshadowed by Langer's recent candid interview on the Back Chat podcast, where he attacked anonymous "cowards" who he said leaked against him and believed some players were not transparent about their feedback.
Addressing the issue publicly for the first time, which has magnified with the Australian Test summer launching in Langer's home of Perth, Cummins strongly defended his dressing room.
"There's no cowards in an Australian cricket team, not ever," he told reporters on Tuesday. "I'd probably never disclose private conversations. I think it's disappointing sometimes the focus gets drawn to off-field issues but it hasn't really affected our team."
In perhaps a sign of detente, Langer has somewhat attempted to clarify his comments since and said that the players were "like my younger brothers".
"I think there's no ill will to what he was trying to do and he clarified afterwards," Cummins said at Optus Stadium with the 'Justin Langer Stand' in the backdrop.
"I think he had a think about it and clarified it, so thank him for that. But we're really proud of the last 12 months, how we've fronted up, the way we've played, the way we've conducted ourselves. Players can certainly hold their heads high."
Cummins said he was "looking forward" to seeing Langer, who will be part of host broadcaster Seven's commentary team this summer, and wasn't expecting a frosty reception from parochial locals.
"He'll be in and around here commentating so it'll be good," Cummins said. "We love playing here at the stadium. My idol mentor, DK Lillee as well, it's his home state.
"We haven't felt that at all," he added when asked if the Australia team was out of favour in Western Australia. "I know there's been some conjecture but I think it camouflages over a lot of the good stuff that's been going on and support we've been receiving."
There were no surprises as Cummins announced an expected Australia line-up to face West Indies with quick Scott Boland and opener Marcus Harris left out.
"To be honest it is the most stable team I have played in ever," Cummins said. "You could probably have picked the side 12 months ago, I feel like we are in a good spot."