Langer looks to Simpson example
JUSTIN Langer has been inspired by the encouragement of the only coach in Australian cricket who can truly relate to what he’s going through.
Bob Simpson came into the coaching chair in the mid-1980s with the game in crisis. Australia had gone four years without a Test series win and players were defecting to the South African rebel tours, leaving Simpson’s side in disarray.
But he turned them around with discipline and hard work and a brilliant natural eye for talent. Langer debuted as a young player under Simpson’s mentorship back in 1993, but his appreciation for what the former Test great had done for Australian cricket has grown exponentially since he took over as a coach in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal.
The pair were reunited at a Bradman Foundation function in Sydney this week and as Langer prepares to lead his side up Mount Everest, he was given sage advice from Simpson, 82, not to try to change the world in one summer.
“I think I would say to keep it simple,” said Simpson.
“Don’t try and do the impossible. Look at what you can do in this particular moment so you can do it for longer.”
Players used to grumble at Simpson – the notorious hard task master – but beneath the surface there was enormous respect.
Langer says in his current predicament, with Australian cricket a “dysfunctional family”, he regards Simpson as an “inspiration”.
“He set the scene for what it means to be an Australian cricketer,” said Langer.
“I hope I can do half the job (he) did back then with the Australian cricket team.”
Test great Ricky Ponting was Langer’s assistant for the mid-year ODI tour of the UK and gave a glowing assessment of the culture his former teammate had created – even though England whitewashed Australia 5-0.
Ponting said Langer was the man to turn things around for Australia.
“I’ve been around and worked with JL for the five one-dayers in the UK in JuneJuly… (and although the results weren’t there), I can guarantee what I saw, witnessed, heard and watched, there’s no doubt in my mind that this Australian cricket team and every single one of its players that come into contact with him are 100 per cent on the right track,” said Ponting.