Off The Field

Anger had been stopping me make runs, so I had to change: Justin Langer

Written by Vipin Darwade

ustin Langer is regarded as one of the best openers of his generation in Test cricket but not many know that the current Australia coach had made up his mind to retire from the sport as early as 2001 and that too, in the middle of the Ashes series in England.

Langer, who played 105 Tests for Australia and amassed 7696 runs at an average of 45.27, revealed in a recent interview that he was all set to quit the sport and return home from England due to the lack of runs.

Langer was woefully out of form right from the start of the new millennium and had hit rock-bottom during the England tour but a call from then-captain Steve Waugh changed his life forever.

“Literally, the week before I opened for the first time with Haydos (Matthew Hayden), I told all my family I’m getting on a plane and leaving, I’m going home,” Langer told ABC’s One Plus One this week.

“I couldn’t make a run, I thought I’d failed, I’d never play for Australia again. I’d been dropped at the start of the series when I thought I was going to play. My wife had flown over because I was going to retire the week before.

“I was so down in the dumps … and out of nowhere, Steve Waugh rings me and says; ‘you’re going to open the batting tomorrow’.”

n 2006 book The Ashes Match of My Life, Langer described that he sunk to a new low and blew up at Adam Gilchrist during the slump.

“I hit rock-bottom when I was out for two against Sussex at Hove,” he wrote.

“I walked off the ground and shouted at our stand-in captain Adam Gilchrist, ‘Look what you guys have done to me!’. I really spat the dummy. I was sick of being the easy guy to drop.

“That night I sat in the bar of the Grand Hotel on the Brighton seafront with Gilly and our coach John Buchanan. I don’t normally drink much, but for four hours I knocked back the Budweisers as I spewed out all the emotions that had been simmering away since I was dropped. I told them exactly how I felt. Anger had been stopping me make runs, so I had to change.”

About the author

Vipin Darwade