Australia men’s cricket coach Justin Langer has turned author with a new book titled ‘Cricket – The Aussie Way’, a story that aims to introduce children to the fundamentals of the sport through a fictional story.
Talking about the book, Langer said he was inspired by Sir Don Bradman’s advice more than two decades ago, revealing a letter he wrote to him. Back in 1994 when he was 23 and had already earned a Baggy Green Cap, Langer had written to the cricket great for advice on playing cricket.
Bradman, widely considered to be the greatest batsman in cricket history, had replied within a day. “You flatter me by suggesting that an old octogenarian like me can help with your cricket,” he had written, before talking about physical fitness and suggesting Langer read ‘The Art of Cricket’, the book Bradman had written after his retirement which is revered as a coaching manual all over.
One of the most interesting aspects of the exchange was the advice to tackle medium pace. “As I am predominantly a back-foot player I wonder if you have any ideas on playing medium-pace bowlers,” Langer wrote.
In response, Bradman gave a fascinating insight into his batting method.
“You mention specially the medium pacers and a slight problem you have with them,” said Bradman. “Against them I always started to move just before delivery by going slightly back and across. In fact the basis of my batting was back play because I think this gives the batsman greater flexibility in making shots and taking the initiative than the forward player who becomes stuck in a groove.”.
Langer has used that advice and reimagined his cricket knowledge in the new book.
“As well as giving me valuable technical advice, Sir Donald told me he always played to have fun because he loved cricket. His letter to me is a treasured memory on my study wall. I see it every day when I’m at home,” Langer was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
According to the description by the website, the book follows a struggling fictional junior team to highlight how winning isn’t everything.
“Langer has put a lot of energy into it and done a fantastic job. It’s got a lot of passion and compassion, plus there’s a bit of philosophy and a bit of history about Bradman so the kids of today learn a bit about him,” Wally Edwards said about the book.
According to Edwards, the idea of the book came from his involvement with the Bradman Foundation and the discovery of old Australian cricket photos. These photos include historic photos of Bradman and Australia’s women’s cricketers from back in the day.
Here are the complete letter, courtesy Cricket.com.au