Langer looks to Simp­son ex­am­ple

The Weekend Post - - Sport - BEN HORNE

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.

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