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Players sweat on dawn of Langer era

There's been a marked change in the way Australia's players go about their business on the training paddock this tour

If there was one word to characterise the early days of the Justin Langer era, it might well be sweat.

Langer is famous for his fanaticism over fitness, a reputation earned for putting Western Australian cricketers through the wringer in pre-season, and clearly nothing is about to change now he's at the helm of the national team. 


There's been a marked change in the way Australia's men's team goes about its business on the training paddock. The sessions are longer, more involved, more intense. Physical exertion is demanded and there's no room for passengers.

No pain no gain, they say. And Langer has his steely gaze set on making lots of gains. 

In case you played and missed it: ODI preview

The day before a match, what was once an optional top-up session, is now barely discernible from other gruelling sessions. The only difference appeared to be the absence of any Australian fast bowler thundering in at the nets, that duty instead left to a willing band of local up-and-comers. 

"The style of cricket we want to play, we realise we want to be a little bit fitter," said Tim Paine, the Australia captain. 

"That's little things: for our running between the wickets, it's having a really high intensity for 50 overs in the field.

"So we realise we have to be a little bit fitter than what we have been to play at the intensity for as long as we have."

Running time trials and sprints, being measured and tested and having the results documented is nothing new for the Australians. GPS tracking has been in use for several years and Cricket Australia have a high-tech facility in the Bupa National Cricket Centre, and a world-class Sports Science Sports Medicine department, headed up by Alex Kountouris, the man who kept Michael Clarke on the park for so long.

Langer, Paine set out their expectations for Australia

This new style of cricket, though, will see a fitter and faster Australia, one with the stamina and endurance to maintain peak performance throughout a day's play. 

Why train for an hour, when come a match you could bat for four, or more in red-ball formats. 

Michael Hussey once implored teammate Cameron White "Don't hit another three. Fours and sixes, please." He was 83 not out from 85 balls in the final over of the match, and one of the fittest men in the game. You get the impression Langer may not have been impressed. 

Langer has made no secret of his desire to focus on speed between the wickets, and speed across the field. A one that is turned into a two could be just as vital as a saving a run in the field. 

Every little saving counts, and Langer is intent on building a bank, and has found willing charges to mould in his image.

"Guys are now always buying into it and seeing (fitness) is more important because of the style of cricket we want to play," Paine said. 

The structure of a training session has changed, and there is an upbeat energy about the current ODI group. 

"The batters tend to go off in a smaller group now, and bowl to each other," said Aaron Finch, who is playing under his fourth Australian coach following Tim Nielsen, Mickey Artur and Darren Lehmann.

"We do a little bit more drill-based stuff for about 40 mins, then we have our proper net session. 

"It's probably a little bit more volume to each other, as opposed to everyone just gravitating to (batting coach Graeme Hick) or the (head) coach and just getting throw downs.

"With Perth (Langer has) done some wonderful things over there and whoever is coach of the side has the opportunity to mould the side the way they want."

The Australian team will spill a lot of sweat while Langer is in charge, and will reap the results. But there has been one other change welcomed by the playing group: "The meetings have been pretty short and sharp, which is nice," said Finch.

The first match begins tonight, with coverage on GEM from 9.30pm AEST.

Qantas tours of England and Zimbabwe

ODI squad: Tim Paine (c), Aaron Finch (vc), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Travis Head, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye

England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (injured), David Willey, Chris Woakes (injured), Mark Wood

T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Travis Head, Nic Maddinson, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Jack Wildermuth

Qantas Tour of England

June 7: Australia beat Sussex by 57 runs at Hove

June 9: Australia beat Middlesex by 101 runs at Lord's

June 13: First ODI, The Oval (D/N)

June 16: Second ODI, Cardiff

June 19: Third ODI, Trent Bridge (D/N)

June 21: Fourth ODI, Durham (D/N)

June 24: Fifth ODI, Old Trafford

June 27: Only T20, Edgbaston (D/N)

Qantas T20I tri-series Tour of Zimbabwe

July 1: Zimbabwe vs Pakistan

July 2: Pakistan vs Australia

July 3: Australia vs Zimbabwe

July 4: Zimbabwe vs Pakistan

July 5: Pakistan vs Australia

July 6: Australia vs Zimbabwe

July 8: Final

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