The pressure of being a Test opener did little to disturb Justin Langer – he was always a sound sleeper.
It took becoming head coach of Australia for Langer to start losing sleep, the 47-year-old has revealed.
Langer told The Australian he started waking up in the middle of the night in England in June, when the hosts swept Australia in five one-day matches during his first series in charge.
He said it’s a trend which has continued a “few times” more since returning home, as he continues to grasp the scale of the job.
“It’s bizarre but hopefully as I start getting my feet under the table and I start knowing who I trust around my new team of people at Cricket Australia, hopefully I start sleeping better,” he told the publication.
Langer added that he initially felt “overwhelmed” by the job due to the intense level of scrutiny compared to his old role as coach of Western Australia.
He was speaking ahead of Australia A’s tour of India, which will prove pivotal in finding batting replacements for suspended trio Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.
Former opener Langer – who made 7,696 runs at 45.27 in 105 Tests – said he doesn’t know who the best six batsmen in Australia are, but hoped the ‘A’ tour would provide some answers.
“It’s two-fold with India and Australia A. One, we want to see who performs under pressure and two, we want to start to get some continuity in our side where possible, but we also need to reward performance, not just talent,” Langer said.
His comments came after bowling legend Shane Warne told foxsports.com.au that there are not six Test-quality batsmen in the country right now.
Warne said a perceived lack of Test-standard batsmen coming through the system is his biggest concern in Australian cricket, adding: “Why isn’t the talent coming through?
“I can’t think of one young batsman that’s come through from any state that you think is going to be the next superstar of Australian cricket.”
The pressure will be on Matthew Renshaw, Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Travis Head and Kurtis Patterson, who will make up Australia A’s top-order auditioning for a spot in the Test team to play Pakistan in the UAE in October.
Shaun Marsh and Glenn Maxwell weren’t asked to travel – believed to be a vote of confidence in the pair rather than a snub.
Joe Burns – who was, along with Renshaw, the first to fill one of the opening vacancies – was also excused, although his future in the Test side is less certain.
Langer said the ball-tampering scandal has left Australian cricket in an “unprecedented” state, making selection predictions difficult.
“The answer is straight up ‘no’. Do we know the best six batsmen in Australia? The answer is ‘no’,” Langer said.