Langer not returning to Somerset in 2010
Justin Langer, the Somerset captain, has confirmed he will not be returning to the county next season, fuelling speculation that he is being lined up to take the role of coach at struggling Middlesex.
Langer, who turns 39 in November, said the time was right to move on to the next phase of his career after four seasons with Somerset, where he has led the side since 2007.
He enjoyed three seasons with Middlesex between 1998 and 2000, and at the weekend Angus Fraser, their director of cricket, admitted that Langer was a possible candidate to succeed Toby Radford, who left in July. "I hold Justin in high regard and want to talk to him once I know what his contractual situation is with Somerset," Fraser said. "We have talked to some other people as well."
Langer helped guide Somerset from the bottom of the County Championship Second Division to the First Division, where they finished fourth last year and again competed strongly for the title this season. He has also been part of Somerset's short-format success - they were runners up in the Twenty20 cup this year - and will lead the county in the Champions League Twenty20 in India next month.
"I am very proud of what we have achieved as a team over the last few years," Langer said. "We have proved that organisation, teamwork, talent, vision and discipline are the most important factors when competing on the field.
"While it is tough to let go of my playing ties with Somerset, I feel the time is now right for me to move on to the next phase in my career. I have not yet decided where or what that might be and I will take some time out to decide which route I wish to take, either within cricket or in following my other life pursuits."
Langer, who played 105 Tests for Australia before retiring at the end of the 2006-07 Ashes, set a record in 2006, when he scored 342 against Surrey at Guildford, which gave him the highest individual first-class score by a Somerset player. Somerset's chief executive Richard Gould said Langer would be remembered as one of the county's greats.
"JL's contribution as a player and captain will mark him down in club history as one of our most outstanding performers," Gould said. "His direction and determination has allowed the club to reinvent itself as one of the top performing clubs in English cricket. His personal example has allowed many of our younger players to blossom and his legacy will evident for years to come."
Brian Rose, Somerset's director of cricket, said: "I have been privileged over the years to have been involved with many great overseas players at Somerset, including Viv Richards, Greg Chappell and Sunil Gavaskar. JL is right up there with them in terms of the progression he has achieved for the club in the last three years."