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December 12, 2006
Justin Langer believes Damien Martyn's unexpected international departure will stop a "mass exodus" of senior players over the next six months. A year ago Langer felt he would be walking away from Tests at the end of the Ashes campaign, but Martyn's decision to step down and fly out of the country has forced a re-think.
"Now one [player] has left, I've got to look at it at the end of this series and see it in the bigger scheme of things - where I'm sitting, where the team's sitting, where Australian cricket's sitting," Langer said in the Sydney Morning Herald. "When I think about it, I want to keep playing.
"Damien's obviously ready to finish. He obviously doesn't love playing any more, whereas I love playing still. It brings it more into focus when something like that happens."
Langer said he kept asking himself if he wanted to stop. "The answer's definitely no ... For me, it's definitely not time at the moment."
Australia have suffered in the past with groups of retirements - the most serious was when Lillee, Chappell and Marsh departed in 1983-84 - and the selectors are conscious of a step-by-step transition to the next generation. "It's come into reality now that Damien's retired," Langer said. "What we have to be very careful of in Australian cricket is that we don't have a mass exodus. That's crucial.
"You've got to have a nice progression of players coming through. You don't want to see all the senior players going out at once."
Langer has been in text-message contact with Martyn but would not tell the paper where he was. "He probably feels like the whole world's off his shoulders," he said. "It's a very courageous decision. He's walking away from the financial benefits, from the chance to win the Ashes, because his heart's not in it any more."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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