BANGALORE: Justin Langer was watching Deccan Chargers play Trinidad and Tobago on the big screen in the team hotel bar on Wednesday even more intently than his Somerset teammates. For three hours the former Australian opener hardly moved, admitting afterwards he had not ”watched that much cricket for ages”. He had good reason to be on edge: a Chargers win would have sent him into retirement, effective immediately.While the Sabres’ last-ball victory over Deccan last weekend was dramatic, Langer said watching Wednesday night’s match – the last of round one in the Champions League Twenty20 – was harder to cope with.”It was different because we obviously had control over that [first match] at least. If we hadn’t have got through, that was the end of my career … never to play again. So at least I’ve still got two more games left in me,” the 38-year-old, who turns 39 next month, said after the match.”When we beat Deccan Chargers [in] the first game it was one of the most exciting games I’ve played in. The crowd was massive, and for our young guys it was huge. And then we got flogged by Trinidad – that was almost like a massive downer – and then to win tonight was [amazing].”The Champions League is a fitting end to Langer’s four-year stint at the English county side, which he’s captained for three years.”I’ve had a great time at Somerset. We’ve gone from bottom of everything in the second division three years ago, now we’re playing on the big stage. So it does make you proud, definitely,” he said.The left-hander was never favoured by Australia in the shorter form of the game – he played only eight one-day internationals – yet in Twenty20 he has proved to be a very effective opener, averaging 29.35 at a strike-rate of 138.8. Langer said he had become a huge fan of Twenty20 since his international retirement.”It’s a massive emotional rollercoaster, Twenty20 cricket, and that was highlighted again here,” he said. ”It’s been amazing. Honestly, it’s a great thing. Brilliant. Look at the people jumping around … it’s brilliant. I’m rooted, I’ve got to say.”Somerset’s progression means they’ll face South Africa’s Diamond Eagles tonight and the formidable NSW side on Sunday. It also means the team’s prizemoney jumps from $US100,000 to $US200,000 – and will soar to $US500,000 for a semi-final berth. The financial implications of this tournament are, Langer admitted, enormous for ”all of us”.Indian selectors have dropped experienced batsman Rahul Dravid from the squad for the first two games of the one-day international series against Australia.
Nanjing Night Net

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