Thursday Mar 26, 2020
Australian national team’s coach Justin Langer believes the lockdown caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic could be a blessing in disguise for his jaded team, and has urged his charges to use the “silver lining” of a break to recharge their batteries and do things they wouldn’t normally.
“There is nirvana in the fact that we're home with our families, we sleep in our own bed, we eat home cooked dinners and we can still work in one degree or another from home,” Langer told media in a video conference from Perth.
“Like everyone, we're scrambling at the moment. From a personal point of view, I'm trying to encourage our players to find some silver lining out of it. What I mean by that is we're at the back end of our season. If we can use it as effectively as possible to give ourselves a physical and mental break it's very important.”
He elaborated on the break part, explaining that nonstop cricket had left his players mentally and physically exhausted – something that the lockdown could help them solve.
“We identified in South Africa a number of our players were physically and mentally exhausted. We had all winter with the World Cup and the Ashes then into our summer, the boys were playing before that. Some of them came straight from the IPL to the World Cup, the point is it gives them a really good opportunity to recharge. We're looking at scenarios to make sure we'll be ready for whatever comes up.”
When asked if the Australian players could be trusted to maintain their fitness standards during the enforced break, he had complete faith.
“One of our values is elite professionalism. I'll be very, very surprised if all our guys aren't working very hard. They'll have a mental break. Most of them, part of their lifestyle now as professional athletes, is they will keep themselves nice and fit. We don't have the same formalised opportunities to do that. I also look at that really positively, guys have to take responsibility for staying healthy, staying fit, and working out how they will get the balance right between using the time for that and being healthy with it.”
The pandemic and the lockdowns it has caused could take a psychological toll on athletes used to training outdoors, but Langer says that Cricket Australia has enough professional help in place to help their staff get through these trying times.
“We've got incredible resources in Cricket Australia now. We've got full time professional development managers in all the states, we've got full time psychologists at most of the states. The very fact we're sitting here now, the truth is for me personally and for all the players, this is like nirvana in the fact we're home with our families, we sleep in our own bed, we eat home cooked dinners and we can still work in one degree or another from home,” he said.
“I've had 15 teleconferences in the last week or so and found it really working well. We're all staying connected. There's so many other ways you can learn. There's books, online learning, the internet is incredible. Staying connected for one thing but also using this as an opportunity to do things we wouldn't normally do.”