Putting the Test harness on Langer



PERTH ? Australian physiotherapist Errol Alcott admits he'll have to "put the harness'' on Justin Langer after injury yesterday ruled the opener out of a Test match for the second time in as many months. Langer, 35, won't play in the Boxing Day Test against South Africa after straining his left hamstring batting on day three of the first Test against the Proteas in Perth.

Langer is rated a 50-50 prospect of recovering in time for the third Test against South Africa, starting at the SCG on January 2.

It's another setback for the gritty left-hander, who played 53 consecutive Tests over four years before missing two tussles with the West Indies last month due to a fractured rib. A fitness fanatic who boasts a black belt in taekwondo, Langer famously guaranteed he would play in the first Test against the Windies, declaring "I'm not trying to be a hero, but it's only pain, mate''.

Coach John Buchanan quickly tempered the West Australian's unbridled enthusiasm, reminding a player he labelled "a tough little nut'' that medical advice, not Langer's ambitions, would decide his fate. Alcott said he would have to monitor the affable Langer to ensure he makes a full recovery. "He's the sort of player you've got to put the harness on, because he wants to do a bit too much,'' he said. "That's just a normal athletic sort of mind.

"They're always trying to test themselves out, so you've got to put the harness on them a bit in terms of rehab and that sort of thing.''

Blues opener Phil Jaques and his NSW team-mate Michael Clarke are in the running to replace Langer.

Alcott said Langer will be given every chance to prove his fitness for Sydney.



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