Forgotten Heroes: Justin Langer
Justin Langer [PC: Twitter]
Success is not final; failure is not fatal. It's the courage to continue that counts.
What do you think are the qualities of an ideal Test batsman?
For some of you, it's the technique, while for some others, it's the stroke-play. But for me, it's perseverance, an attribute that germinates from inside and takes the Test match batsmanship to a whole new level.
If I close my eyes and think of batters who have had astounding success in the purest format primarily because of their determination, the first one to strike my mind is Justin Langer.
Career and Legacy at a glance
A fighter by nature, Langer had to battle it out for his spot during the initial days of his career. But the Western Australian didn't look back once promoted to the top permanently, forming the most lethal opening pair for the ages alongside Matthew Hayden.
He was the perfect guy to partner the ever-aggressive Hayden, as the deadly duo set the tone for innumerable historic victories for the invincible Australian team of the early 2000s.
Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden [PC: Twitter]
Despite being a late-bloomer, Langer wore the Baggy Green on 105 occasions, hammering 7696 runs at a marvellous average of 45.27. But more importantly, the short-statured southpaw always preserved his absolute best for England, averaging a sensational 50.24 across 38 innings in his glorious Ashes career.
Why is Langer a forgotten hero?
Tell me, honestly, how many of you voice in favour of Langer when a discussion about the best Test openers is surfaced?
Our obsession with marquee players often erases the low-profile individuals from our memory. Langer was that underrated yet one of the most effective batters in that lineup.
In a team full of swashbucklers like Ponting, Hayden and Gilchrist, Langer managed to stay relevant through his sheer grit and resilience.
He was an exceptional player off the back-foot, like every single Australian batter, but what made him unique was his un-Australian nature of hanging around and wearing out the best of the best bowling attacks.
The opposition did plan for the stalwarts; Langer always came out of the syllabus, shielding his teammates from the flaming thunderbolts. Upon failing in getting him out, the seamers attempted to impair him, but Langer refused to bow down to their nasty bumpers and ultimately emerged victorious every time.
He was technically as firm as a rock and mentally tough as a nail. Moreover, he was that axle around which the wheel of Australian batting revolved, driving the team onwards and upwards.
His inspirational journey vividly reverberates the importance of the never-say-die attitude in every sector of life. Of course, being humans, we will be subjected to challenges at some time or the other. But success will be inevitable if we stand firmly and keep trying our level best.
Also Read: Myth Busters: India lost most matches when Sachin Tendulkar scored a century