Justin Langer, the men's Australian team's current head coach, has collected a truckload of souvenirs and accolades for himself as a brilliant opening batsman as well as a shrewd coach. However, one item he cherishes a lot and sees 'every day when he is home' is a letter from Sir Don Bradman, he told cricket.com.au in a recent interview.
Justin Langer was a typical Western Australian cricketer with the mental strength of a rock. He was a solid opening batsman and a master of attritional cricket. At his peak, he became the perfect juxtaposition to the flamboyant Matthew Hayden to form one of Australia's greatest opening partnerships.
However, at 23, having made his debut with the baggy green, Langer was struggling to get into his groove. The fledgling batsman decided to write to the greatest of all time Donald Bradman. In the letter, a 'shy' Justin Langer asks the Australian legend for some advice on becoming a successful cricketer.
To this, Sir Bradman quipped:
“You flatter me by suggesting that an old octogenarian like me can help with your cricket."
He then went on to suggest Langer read his book The Art of Cricket and watch a video he made in his prime about the art of batting.
Sir Don Bradman's golden words to Justin Langer
One of Justin Langer's weaknesses in his early days was his ability to counter medium pacers and he specifically asked the Australian legend for advice to improve. “As I am predominantly a back-foot player I wonder if you have any ideas on playing medium-pace bowlers,” Langer wrote.
In response, Sir Bradman gave a fascinating insight into his batting technique:
“Against them, I always started to move just before delivery by going slightly back and across. In fact, the basis of my batting was back play because I think this gives the batsman greater flexibility in making shots and taking the initiative more than the forward player, who becomes stuck in a groove," Sir Bradman reverted.
He also sneaked in some golden words that will be helpful for every young cricketer aiming to make it big.
"I suppose the one outstanding feature of a good player is his ability to concentrate and to impose his will on the bowler," Sir Bradman wrote
Justin Langer amassed 7,696 runs in the longest format of the game with 23 centuries and 30 half-centuries. He is now releasing a book titled ‘Cricket – The Aussie Way’, a fictional story that aims to introduce children to the fundamentals of cricket, thus carrying forward the legacy of Australian cricket.Published 18 Nov 2020, 20:20 IST