They say in cricket, in order to become a better batsman, one should know how to deal with both extreme pace and spin bowling at the same time. The legendary batters of all time have been great players of both pace and spin.
However, even among the list of finest batsmen, the trend has been seen how some of them struggled against medium-pacers. The list includes former Australia opener and current head coach of Australian men’s cricket team Justin Langer.
Langer was one of the best Test openers and produced some of his memorable performances for the Baggy Greens.
But Langer also had some issues in facing medium pace bowlers. And the Western Australian recently revealed how he got help from the greatest batsman ever, Sir Donald Bradman, to overcome the weakness.
“As I am predominantly a back-foot player I wonder if you have any ideas on playing medium-pace bowlers,” Langer wrote a letter to Bradman as reported by cricket.com.au.
In his response, the legendary batsman had written, “You flatter me by suggesting that an old octogenarian like me can help with your cricket.”
Bradman mentioned that throughout his playing career, he had stayed away from smoking and drinking.
“I did not take any measures … other than living a normal and sensible non-smoking and non-drinking career,” wrote Bradman.
“It is a treasured memory:” Langer on Bradman’s letter
Bradman cited his own example while replying to Langer’s letter, stating that he used to play on the back foot as it gave him much better flexibility in executing his shots.
“You mention specially the medium pacers and the slight problem you have with them. Against them, I always started to move just before the delivery by going slightly back and across. In fact, the main basis of my batting was back play because I think this gives the batsman greater flexibility in many shots and taking the initiative than the forward player who becomes stuck in a grove,” Bradman wrote further.
Langer still remembers the moment he received the gem of advice from the great man. The 49-year-old said that he had treasured that letter on his study wall as he sees it every day whenever he stays at his home.
“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,” said Langer.