Former Australia opener Justin Langer, who retired from the Test scene in January 2007, is considering extending his competitive cricket career to the age of 40. Langer, the Somerset captain, said his body was holding up well and he was enjoying the game more than ever. He turns 38 on November 21st.
"Many years ago when I was starting out, I set the target of playing until I was 40," he said. "I'm still feeling good so it's something that I'd like to achieve."
Langer has agreed to return to Somerset for a fourth season in 2009 after agreeing to a new one -year contract. He's also planning to play for the Rajasthan Royals in next year's Indian Premier League after missing the 2008 campaign with the Jaipur-based franchise because of his commitments at Somerset.
"Adam Gilchrist told me that the IPL was six of the best weeks he's had in his entire career," he said. "There's a few more details to finalise, but I'm really looking forward to being part of it."
Langer made his comments in Hong Kong where he's playing for an All-Stars team in this weekend's Hong Kong Cricket Sixes. His team-mates include former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming, the West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul and veteran Sri Lanka opener Sanath Jayasuriya.
"I've always been fascinated by the Sixes," he said. "So to get the invitation this year to play in Hong Kong I was thrilled."
It's the start of a busy week for Langer that will see him oppose his former Australia team-mates in a Twenty20 game at the Gabba in Brisbane on November 14. Langer and old friend Gilchrist - with 201 Test matches and 40 Test centuries between them - are the big-name members of another All-Stars team, coached by ex-India boss, Greg Chappell.
"For me and Gilly, it should be great fun and good to be back on the big stage again," he said. "But playing against Australia and playing against my mates, I'm not so sure about that. It pays me back when Australia played Australia A nearly ten years ago."
Langer had another successful season as Somerset captain in 2008, taking the newly-promoted side to the brink of success in Division One of the County Championship before they eventually finished fourth. He was Somerset's second-highest run-scorer - behind former international opponent Marcus Trescothick - with 1083 runs at 43.32 including three centuries.
He said: "I love playing for Somerset. For me the greatest challenge now is to stay hungry. I've just got to keep setting myself new goals from a batting perspective. All the rest of it I really enjoy: the lifestyle, the competition, the management side of being captain and I can stay nice and fit."
Langer added that he's not too concerned about the recent struggles of the Australia Test team on the tour of India. "India is the toughest place in the world to play," he said. "When we won the last series in India that for me, was the highlight of my career.
"It was like reaching the crest of Mount Everest. So I'm going to keep it in perspective. We have a young side in India at the moment and they've competed very well. We don't have to worry too much about Australian cricket."