Justin Langer has emphatically denied claims he has fallen out with the Australian cricket team, adamant he is still in contact with most players.
Langer's exit as Australia coach has returned to the headlines on the eve of the Test summer, following his controversial podcast released earlier this week.
In it, he accused sources who had leaked to the media during his tenure of being cowards and complained over the lack of honest feedback given by players.
His comments drew a sharp retort from Cricket Australia, with CEO Nick Hockley moving to defend both senior players and their organisation's feedback to the ex-coach.
Langer has returned to the front foot in the days following, making clear he had spoken to Pat Cummins and other players both before and after his comments were made public.
The former opener's exit from Australia's team is likely to dominate headlines throughout the summer, with Langer to make his commentary debut with Seven.
But in a lengthy column penned in the West Australian, Langer claimed he was attempting to pour water on those suggestions while adamant he was on good terms with his players.
"This rubbish dialogue of me fighting with the current team must stop. Simply because it is not true," Langer wrote. "They are my friends. They are like my younger brothers. Anything said to the contrary is false.
"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."
Langer said he had been surprised by the blowback from his comments on the Back Chat podcast, and he had shared his quotes with the likes of Cummins, Aaron Finch and high-performance manager Ben Oliver before they were released.
"For the record, I am a great admirer of Pat Cummins," Langer wrote. "Not only is he an outstanding cricketer but he is also a very good human being.
"Would I have liked him to have backed me more publicly towards the end of my time as coach? Of course, I would. Who wouldn't?"
In turn, Langer claimed he was desperate to move on from the drama of his February exit, after he was offered only a six-month extension by Cricket Australia.
And in doing so, he claimed the public should as well ahead of the first Test against West Indies in Langer's home town of Perth and parochial West Australian crowd.
"Was it always perfect? No, it wasn't? What business, what team is always perfect?" Langer said of his tenure. "I have never met a leader who is every single person's cup of tea. Again, that's life.
"And I accept my four years with the team had to come to an end. It's just a shame it happened like it did. But now, it's time to move on."