It’s been a long year and a half of relentless cricket action on the road for Australian head coach Justin Langer, and he is finally getting the chance to blow off some steam back at home in Perth.
Langer, who took upon the job eighteen months back, immediately had to deal with the fall-out of the ball tampering saga, followed by a home Test series against India, the World Cup and then the Ashes. And speaking to ABC Grandstand, he said he’s enjoying the simple things once more.
“For me to be home in WA and be in my own bed, walk the dog every morning, be in my garden every morning, have a game of golf with my dad, have home-cooked dinner every night – these things are so simple but they give me so much energy," he said.
“The whole Ashes, as with the World Cup, was just pressure the whole time. That’s the hardest part of the job actually – the relentless nature.
“Whether you win a game or you lose a game, you’ve still got to wake up the next day as one of the leaders and you’ve got to keep making decisions – selection decisions, what are we going to do for training, how do we prepare the boys to lift them or keep them level, what am I going to say to the media, what am I going to say to the players – the relentless periods are very tiring, and that’s why these short periods of time to rejuvenate are so important.
“The other thing that gives me energy is that I come home to Australia and, I know we lost the last Test match, but there’s a really strong sentiment that people are proud of what the Australian cricket team is doing again.
“People saying ‘Congratulations on retaining the Ashes’, and ‘We knew the World Cup was a great campaign’. People seem to be really proud of the team again. There seems to be a positive sentiment, and that also gives me energy, that all the work we’re doing – the players, staff, everyone at Cricket Australia – is turning back the positive feelings about the Australian cricket team."
Australian cricket is now moving towards as a collective in aiming to do well at next year’s T20 World Cup which the country is hosting.
It is the only ICC trophy that is missing from the team’s cabinet, and Langer gained some insight into how the team could prepare for the mega-event from one of the all-time legends of sport – former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
“One of my lifelong ambitions was to meet Sir Alex Ferguson, the great Manchester United coach," Langer said.
“I had lunch with him in England and it was brilliant, I loved it. One of the things he said was you’ve always got to have a short-term view, but you’ve always got to have a long-term view.
“I know having spoken to a number of people in the England camp, they took a four-year view to winning the World Cup. They built up to being the best team for four years and then it’s amazing how everything went their way – they deserved to win it, as it turned out.
“I think we have to do that. We’ve got to take not only short-term views of selection but also a little bit longer term. We’ve got two Twenty20 World Cups coming up in the next two years – one here in Australia, one in India.
“They’re different environments to play in but I think the more we can get a white-ball core of players, and back them in and get them to work together and understand each other, and build a team and a squad around that … we started doing it at Christmas time but it was probably just a bit short (before the World Cup)."
“Being with family and knowing I’ve got their support rejuvenates me,” Langer concluded.