Pat Cummins has again opted not to publicly endorse Justin Langer, maintaining Cricket Australia’s call to evaluate the coach’s position is”fair” ahead of Friday’s crucial board meeting.
Langer’s contract is one of several issues to be discussed in what shapes to be one of the most pivotal meetings of CA’s directors.
Power brokers will also discuss candidates for a new chairman before it goes to state chairs, four months after Earl Eddings’ exit.
Next month’s Pakistan tour must also be rubber-stamped, with CA expected to approve Australia’s first trip to the country in 24 years.
But the majority of the focus will be on Langer after six months of speculation.
Langer’s contract expires in June, with Friday’s board meeting the last before the team is due to depart to Pakistan.
Langer can argue on-field performances warrant an extension, meaning any decision outside of him retaining the role will be a hard sell to the public.
But it has also become clear the focus will be on Langer himself rather than the team’s results.
His intense and old-school direct nature has come under heavy scrutiny and was a key sticking point for players when the issue came to a head in August and prompted high-powered meetings.
The coach has since made a point to relinquish some control at the request of management, noted by both himself and others during the T20 World Cup success.
Test captain Cummins and white-ball counterpart Aaron Finch have both spoken to CA hierarchy since the end of Australia’s 4-0 Ashes series win.
“It lies in Cricket Australia’s hands,” Cummins told reporters when asked if he had the players’ support and if that would be definitive in the matter.
“JL has been doing a fantastic job. He has been there for four years.
“His contract is obviously up soon. So they’re just going through an evaluation process at the moment which I think is fair and the right thing to do.
“We all get evaluated all the time as cricketers, it’s part of a high-performance environment.”
High performance manager Ben Oliver is expected to address the board on the issue, after both he and CEO Nick Hockley met with Langer last week.
Directors could then choose to speak with Langer further before offering him an extension or telling him his time is up.
Langer has several supporters with virtually all of his ex-teammates vocal in his favour.
Current players have been largely silent on the issue, continually insisting the decision is above their pay level.
Cummins was adamant on Thursday it was not his job to say if Langer had his full support.
“It’s part of speculation which I don’t think is healthy. I don’t think it helps anyone, so I don’t want to add to it,” Cummins said while launching a solar power initiative.
“That is Cricket Australia’s job, it’s not my job. I have really liked my time working with JL.
“We have had an evaluation process, I have been part of that. A lot of other players and staff have been part of that.
“I’ve got huge respect for JL, I really like working with him. But it’s not my call.”