Aussie coach Langer sees 'silver lining' to virus shutdown

Sydney (AFP) –


Australia coach Justin Langer is encouraging his players to see a "silver lining" from the coronavirus shutdown of sport and enjoy the "nirvana" of unexpected time at home with family.

All cricket in Australia has been cancelled, with the team's three-match Twenty20 series against New Zealand this month a casualty after just one game.

The domestic Sheffield Shield was also called off and there are serious doubts as to whether next month's postponed Indian Premier League, where Australia's top stars ordinarily play, will go ahead.

Australia's proposed Test tour to Bangladesh in June and a subsequent one-day campaign in England are also at risk.

Langer admitted some of his players were exhausted after featuring in all three formats almost continuously since last year's World Cup, and said their time off should be savoured.

"From a personal point of view, I'm trying to encourage our players to find some silver lining out of it," he told reporters from his home in Perth late Thursday.

"What I mean by that is we're at the back end of our season, and if we can use it as effectively as possible to give ourselves a physical and mental break, it's very important.

"This is like nirvana in that we're home with our families, we sleep in our own beds, we eat home-cooked dinners and we can still work in one degree or another from home," he added, with players more used to living of out a suitcase.

"It gives them a really good opportunity to recharge and we're looking at scenarios to make sure we'll be ready for whatever comes up."

Despite the enforced layoff, Langer said he was in touch with his players and expected them to maintain training regimes as best they can.

"Guys have to take responsibility for staying healthy, staying fit, and working out how they will get the balance right between using the time for that and being healthy (mentally) with it," he said.

"We know we can't sit on our hands, we don't know how long this will last for."

Australia has recorded nearly 3,000 cases of COVID-19 and 13 deaths, with states closing borders and people encouraged to stay at home to prevent its spread.