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Players’ mental health on top of Langer’s mind as Australia move to finalise contracts list

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

As Australia seek to firm up their contracts list for the 2020-21 season, national men’s team coach Justin Langer has said that an effort will be made to reach out to every player, regardless of whether or not the player makes the list.

With Covid-19 having moved world cricket to a shutdown, uncertainty is abound, as players grapple to stay in shape and remain ready for resumption of normal life.

“I think we’re sticking to the plan of the 2nd of April [for the announcement of contracts]. Out of respect we’ll talk to the players who have been contracted this year and who missed out on a contract,” Langer told reporters on a video call.

Players’ mental health has been a touchy subject over the past year in Australian cricket circles, with a long line of them taking a break from the game. It started with Glenn Maxwell stepping away, citing mental health issues, and he hasn’t played international cricket since October last year.

Maxwell’s latest admission that he was hoping for a broken arm during the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales has further pushed the subject under the spotlight.

“I’m trying to encourage our players to find some silver lining,” Langer said. “We identified in South Africa a number of our players were physically and mentally exhausted.

Langer mental health

Justin Langer is concerned about players’ mental health amid all the uncertainty

“We had all winter (in England) with the World Cup and the Ashes then into our summer … it gives them a really good opportunity to recharge. We’re looking at scenarios to make sure we’ll be ready for whatever comes.”

With players now facing long periods of isolation along with the rest of the world, mental health is a prime area of concern, and Langer stressed on the importance of looking out for each other.

“We talked about it in a conference call yesterday,” he said. “Particularly for any of our staff or players who are home alone basically, we have to keep an eye on those guys and girls to make sure they’re OK. Caring about people is a really important part of leadership.”

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