Current Australian cricket team head coach Justin Langer is a hard task-master, taking the Aussies from strength to strength.
The fact that he was a serious cricketer himself can be understood from an old letter that was published by cricket.com.au.
As a young cricketer, early into his international career, Langer wrote to none other than Don Bradman himself in an effort to improve himself as a batsman. The letter was written on August 15, 1994, where Langer asked Sir Don about how he tackled medium pacers during his playing days. The full letter can be accessed here:
On the fringe of the Test team, a young Justin Langer sought advice from the greatest ever – Don Bradman!
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) November 18, 2020
Donald Bradman, is considered as the greatest batsman to ever play the game, after averaging an astonishing 99.94 in his playing career.
“I feel a little bit shy about writing this letter, but I felt you may be able to offer me a little advice which may help me achieve my goal of becoming a very successful Test cricketer,” the then 23-year-old Langer wrote in the letter.
“As I am predominantly a back-foot player I wonder if you have any ideas on playing medium-pace bowlers,” asked the left-handed Langer, addressing the legendary Bradman as ‘Sir Don.’
The fact that that Langer wanted to learn from the very best that the game had seen, is a true account of his dedication and love for the game.
Bradman, who had already retired in 1948, forty six -years before the letter, was quite quick with his response and explained his technique in depth to the young protégé, Langer.
Just two days later Bradman started off with a cheeky reply, saying “you flatter me by suggesting that an old octogenarian like me can help with your cricket.”
Then he gave the exact solution to Langer’s problem, suggesting that he could try going slightly back and across against the medium pacers.
“You mention specially the medium pacers and the slight problem you have with them. Against them, I always started to move just before the delivery by going slightly back and across. In fact, the main basis of my batting was back play because I think this gives the batsman greater flexibility in many shots and taking the initiative than the forward player who becomes stuck in a grove,” Bradman opined.
Later in the letter, he gave another solid piece of advice to the southpaw Langer. He recommended Langer to follow his own instincts in order to have fun in the game and to never be a slave to coaching.
Langer went on to have an illustrious Test career where he became infamous for opening Australia’s innings with fellow left-hander, Matthew Hayden. His grit in the middle became the hallmark of his batting.
Langer noted that Bradman’s letter is still his prized possession, which he looks at every day. “His letter to me is a treasured memory on my study wall. I see it every day when I’m at home.”