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Fatigued Aussies seeking answers: Langer

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Australia’s endless summer is set to continue with coach Justin Langer concerned about the mental fatigue arising from a packed international schedule.

Aaron Finch’s men will return from Johannesburg on Monday, having won the T20 series against South Africa 2-1 before being swept 3-0 in the one-day internationals.

They will have little rest before hosting New Zealand in an ODI series beginning in Sydney on Friday, the latest finish to an international season in Australia outside World Cups since 1979.

The Australians’ fatigue was obvious in their lacklustre ODI showing against a half-strength Proteas outfit, albeit in a series three years out from the next 50-over World Cup.

Pat Cummins was rested for the final game in Potchefstroom and Mitchell Starc was granted leave to watch wife Alyssa Healy steer Australia to victory in the women’s T20 World Cup final.

“The truth is we’ve got some weary boys at the moment, particularly our senior players,” Langer said before the Australian squad’s departure.

“They play so much cricket.

“They went straight from the IPL which was almost a year ago, straight to the World Cup, straight to the Ashes and what’s been a golden summer for us until, probably, these last three one-dayers.

“We’ll have those discussion in the next few weeks.

“We’ve probably learned the lessons from that in the past as well when the guys are playing all three forms, and playing IPL … even the best of the best, staying 100 per cent sharp all the time is really hard to do.”

Over the next six months, Australia have white-ball tours of New Zealand and England, a Test series in Bangladesh and home fixtures against the Black Caps, Zimbabwe and West Indies.

Two major home commitments then follow – the T20 World Cup which starts in October and a hotly-anticipated Test series against India.

Multi-format stars Cummins, Steve Smith and David Warner will somehow need to balance all of that with playing in the IPL and The Hundred.

Australia will remain without Glenn Maxwell for the Black Caps series as he continues to recover from elbow surgery.

D’Arcy Short is set to be the beneficiary of his absence with Australia still looking for a middle-order finisher in white-ball cricket.

“What I’ve learned is everyone in the world is looking for it,” Langer said.

“We’ve been fortunate in the past with a Mike Hussey or a Michael Bevan who are masters at it. (MS) Dhoni is a master of it … Jos Buttler has been brilliant at it for England.

“So it’s a role that’s there for someone to grab hold of. No one at this stage has absolutely secured it, have they? But there’s good opportunities there for someone to do that.”

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