Speculations mount on Langer~~s retirement

Published: Sunday, December 31, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Speculation is mounting that veteran opening batsman Justin Langer will join Australian teammates Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath and announce his retirement from Test cricket, reports said.

Langer is lining up for his 105th Test match in Tuesday's final Ashes clash with England, and there is a growing sense that he will announce his retirement after the Test instead of before to avoid the fanfare.

The diminutive 36-year-old left-hander forms part of Australia's most prolific opening partnership with Matthew Hayden, who last week said he was not yet ready to quit cricket.

Langer and Hayden have combined for 5,574 runs at an average of 51.61.

Australian coach John Buchanan said only Langer, who has kept out of the limelight since Australia's innings victory over England in the Boxing Day Test, knew whether he would quit.

"He's Mr Respect. That's what he's all about," Buchanan told Australia's Sun Herald newspaper.

"Respect for the game, respect for your teammates, respect for yourself.

"He's a tremendous character to have within the team, with a set of values which he's admired for.

"He believes in all the traditions of the game -- and really, in many ways, he's the epitome of the baggy green cap."

Bowlers Warne and McGrath have announced the Sydney Test will be their last, but the media is anticipating that Langer and Hayden also will be combining for the last time.

Only the West Indian duo of Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes have made more runs (6,482) than Langer and Hayden, but they played together for 13 years while the Australian duo joined forces only in 2001.

Langer has previously stated his aversion to announcing retirement plans before his last Test because he would not like the fanfare.

Langer's father told the Sunday Age newspaper that his son was "not going to hang on for the sake of hanging on".

"He's been privileged to play for his country for 104 Test matches," Colin Langer said.

"The way he's gone about his career has been a thrill for his family. The biggest highlight for me has been the way he's gone about his business as a cricketer.

"To see the effort that's had to be put in, the effort no one really sees. To see what he's done to try to get fit for this series, it's just been unbelievable, the physical effort, the time he spends with his batting coach. People don't see all that, but we do.

"He's worked hard with the ability he had. He's had to work so hard to get where he is."

Buchanan said: "Justin's record is outstanding. He may not have always been fashionable, but he deserves to be recognised as one of the best batsmen we have had."


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