Justin Langer plans to retire after Ashes

Published: Tuesday, May 9, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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sydney:Australian opener Justin Langer has given his strongest indication yet he may retire from cricket after the Ashes, telling a Sydney newspaper he "can't see what the future holds" beyond the series.

Langer, 35, said he considered leaving the game after suffering a heavy concussion from a Makhaya Ntini bouncer during the recent South Africa tour.

But the team veteran said he was determined to play in the coming Ashes series against England after Australia lost the coveted trophy to Michael Vaughan's side last year.

"I have always said that the day you decide to retire, do it -- don't announce it ahead of time, because it will just lead to huge distractions," Langer told The Sydney Morning Herald.

"I can't say what the future holds beyond the Ashes. I would hate to say something now and it become a big distraction through something that is as big a deal as the Ashes."

Langer said the last Ashes series, which Australia lost for the first time in 16 years last September, "really hurt".

"I would love to leave the game knowing that we had regained the Ashes, and the next Ashes team would have it in their possession," he said.

He said a few people close to him suggested he should retire immediately after the last Test in South Africa and he considered it for three weeks.

"When I first came back home I thought that possibly it was the time to go. But I know that now isn't the right time," he said.

"I don't know if that means I've got one series to go or whatever, but I know that I really want to play in the Ashes. It would definitely be nice to leave the game with the Ashes in our possession."

Langer's departure from the Australian side would begin a long-expected changing of the guard in which players now aged in their mid-30s, such as Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist, would retire.

Although Warne, 36, said recently he could play until he turns 40, Langer said the hardest thing was leaving his family behind while on long tours.

"Physically and mentally, we can probably play a long time these days," he said. "We are compensated well and looked after well. But to be frank, the hardest thing for me now is the time away from home, and it has become excruciatingly hard."

But he said he remained focussed on performing well in the Test series against England which begins in November.

"I can assure you that with every single session I do, I will be thinking about England," he said. "I am as motivated for this summer as I have ever been."

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