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Paine vows players will work with Langer following emergency talks

Australia's leaders held a call on Wednesday night to discuss tensions between the players and the coach

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
Justin Langer, Tim Paine and Pat Cummins take a look at the SCG pitch, Sydney, January 6, 2021

Justin Langer, Tim Paine, and Pat Cummins held talks this week  •  Getty Images

Australia Test captain Tim Paine has vowed the players will work with embattled coach Justin Langer over the next six months following a "robust" emergency zoom meeting between Cricket Australia's leaders on Wednesday.
CA chairman Earl Eddings and CEO Nick Hockley held a zoom call with Paine, Australia's limited-overs captain Aaron Finch, and vice-captain Pat Cummins on the same day Hockley issued a public statement supporting Langer.
Speaking on his own SEN radio show Paine confirmed he had spoken to Langer personally over the last 48 hours while the coach was in hotel quarantine in Adelaide, following a flurry of media speculation about tensions between the players and the coach.
"There's no hiding from it, it's been a tough week, certainly for Justin Langer than it has been for anyone else," Paine said. "We've had some really robust conversations among our leaders in the last few days and we're really looking forward to the next six months with JL.
"We're looking forward to the World Cup, we're looking forward to the Ashes, it's an exciting period for any cricketer. If anything, I think we're heading into that tournament and series even more galvanised and even more together.
"It was important that myself, Aaron Finch, Pat Cummins, and the leaders of Australian cricket got around him, discussed things that needed to be discussed, and then got around him and supported him and looked to move forward.
"There's no doubt the week has been difficult for him, but as I said the last few days, we've been able to galvanise around him, to have some really robust discussions on where we want to take this cricket team, what we expect of him and what he expects of us. The T20 World Cup and the Ashes are probably two of the biggest things that any Australian cricket and any Australian coach want's to be a part of and we're all on the same page and can't wait to get started on both of those huge projects for us."
Paine admitted that the issues which had bubbled over this week were not new but was at pains to stress the team's decline in form over the past 18 months in both Test and T20 cricket should not be blamed entirely on the coach.
"The stuff that was reported if we're totally honest wasn't anything new, this is stuff that's been dragged up from an Ashes series two or three years ago, Paine said.
"We've had ongoing discussions with JL. JL's had ongoing discussions with me and his players about us always wanting to get better.
"It's just been a bit of shame, I think, in the last week that a lot of the failings around Australian cricket have been pinned on JL. That's certainly not the case. We haven't lived up to our own standards on the field. We haven't won enough games of cricket and that's pretty much put us all under pressure."
"But that's the world we live in. We're playing professional sport. You're judged really harshly when you don't win. We've clearly had a bit of a rough trot with white-ball cricket. The red-ball team hasn't been playing. So there's been a lot of sitting around and a lot of chatting."
Australia have played just four Tests since January 2020, which has left a lot of time for the series loss to India last summer to fester. Paine said his next task was to speak to each player individually and in groups over the phone.
"I think in the next few days, no doubt with what has gone on, we'll be looking to get the group together, whether that's in small groups on a zoom call," Paine said. "It's obviously impossible to get face to face at the moment with half of our team in quarantine in Adelaide and the other half in lockdown in New South Wales.
"What we're doing this week is trying to get everyone on a number of calls. Take them along for the journey with what we have discussed and decided on over the last few days and how we want to take this team forward."

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo