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Langer slams 'lazy' England

Former Australia batsman offers scathing verdict

Prior: 'massive ego'

Former Australia opener Justin Langer has given a damning assessment of England's collective and individual weaknesses in a dossier punlished by the Sunday Telegraph.

"This is also a time when most of them make all sorts of excuses and start looking around to point the finger at everyone else - this is a classic English trait from my experience."

Justin Langer

Quotes of the week

Langer, who retired from international cricket after the last Ashes series in 2007 and now captains Somerset, apparently put together the document to help the tourists prepare for the first Test.

Describing the team, Langer said: "English cricketers are great front runners. Because of the way they are programmed they will be up when things are going well but they will taper off very quickly if you wear them down in all departments.

"Because they play so much cricket, as soon as it gets a bit hard you just have to watch their body language and see how flat and lazy they get. They are the best in the world (at) tapering off very quickly.

"This is also a time when most of them make all sorts of excuses and start looking around to point the finger at everyone else - this is a classic English trait from my experience.

Shallow

"English players rarely believe in themselves. Many of them will stare a lot and chat a lot but this is very shallow and again will last as long as the pressure is back on them.

"They like being friendly and 'matey' because it makes them feel comfortable. In essence this is maybe the key to the whole English psyche - they love being comfortable."

Concentrating on individual players, Langer highlighted Graeme Swann and Matt Prior's "egos", saying of the latter: "The key is he wants to score runs quickly and look good.

"I would chip away at him about his wicketkeeping and the pressure he is under to perform. I am not sure he actually likes keeping that much and from all accounts he has a massive ego so I would be reminding him about how his keeping could see him out of the team."

Langer describes bowler James Anderson as "hugely improved" but then comments: "He can be a bit of a pussy if he is worn down. His body language could be detrimental to them if we get on top of him early."

Reality check

Former England captain Michael Vaughan, writing in the same paper, called Langer's comments "a reality check" and urged the English authorities to take notice.

"If a great cricketer such as Langer has these views then it should motivate out administrators to overhaul a system that produces players who can operate at only 70 or 80% of their ability because they are playing too much cricket," said Vaughan.

"We need change. We have the talent but it only goes so far. Attitude takes you a lot further and that is what we need to improve.

"The most worrying aspect flicking through the three pages is that I found myself agreeing with much of it."