FORMER men’s Test opener and current Australia head coach, Justin Langer, has been inducted into the Australian Hall of Fame, alongside Raelee Thompson – the former fast bowler and captain, who is considered a pioneer of the women’s sport in the country.
Australia saw the best of Langer at the top of the order in their Test line-up where he forged an enviable partnership with Matthew Hayden during the best years of Australian cricket. Langer’s gritty career came to a close with 7 696 runs to his name at an average of 45.27.
Langer transitioned into coaching and after successful stints in the domestic circuit, he took over the reigns of the national side in May 2018, succeeding Darren Lehmann, who stepped down in the aftermath of the ball-tampering saga in Newlands.
In his watch, Australia recovered from the lows of that episode and went as far as the semi-final of the 50-over World Cup in 2019 before clinching their maiden T20 World Cup in 2021. Langer has also just overseen a thumping 4-0 home Ashes victory.
“Justin’s contribution to Australian cricket spans across four separate decades,” Australian Cricket Hall of Fame Chairman Peter King said. “First as a player, as part of one of the most successful teams that world cricket has ever seen. As a coach, he entered the role at a time of great need and leads the Australian Men’s Cricket Team with great distinction, a team which the Australian public is very proud of.”
Todd Greenberg, the CEO of Australian Cricketers’ Association and a member of the selection panel for the Hall of Fame, talked up Langer’s influence on the game beyond his playing career and the most recent achievements.
“Justin’s record as a player speaks for itself. His record as an opener underpinned one of the most successful eras of Australian cricket. And his influence on the game has extended beyond his playing career – firstly through his commitment to the betterment of Western Australian cricket which is almost unparalleled, right through to the national team set-up which has convincingly held the Ashes on the back of winning the T20 World Cup for the first time,” Australian Cricketers’ Association CEO Todd Greenberg said.
The selection committee also recognised the efforts of Raelee Thompson under whose captaincy Australia ended a 30-year hiatus to reclaim the Ashes at home in 1985 in what was her final Test appearance. Thompson plied her trade at the highest level for 13 years between 1972 and 1985, featuring in 16 Tests and 23 ODIs, while also becoming the oldest player – male or female – to take a maiden five-for in Test at 39 years and 175 days.
After finishing her career on 57 Test wickets at an average of 18.24 and 24 ODI scalps at 18.66, Thompson served as a selector for long time while also mentoring future generations of female cricketers at Essendon Maribyrnong Park Ladies Cricket Club. In 2018, she was offered Life Membership from Cricket Victoria in recognition of all her services to the state side.
“Raelee is similarly a deserved induction, given her outstanding contribution to the game at a time where there was little fanfare at the elite level. She is no doubt one of our great pioneering female cricketers and represented the Baggy Green with such distinction – she is a worthy recipient of this recognition,” King said.
“Raelee is an ambassador and ornament to the Women’s game and was part of a team of trailblazing women – including four games as captain – who can be credited for the success that the current-day Australian Women’s cricket team enjoys. Raelee’s commitment to the betterment of women’s cricket at all levels through mentoring and administration roles is inspiring, Greenberg said.
“To this day she remains a prominent figure in cricket, particularly at Essendon Maribyrnong Park Ladies Cricket Club where she is a Life Member. She is hugely deserving of her induction,” he added. (Cricbuzz)