Langer hoping A tour will help settle Test lineup
Australia coach Justin Langer has admitted that he has doesn’t know who the six best batsmen to face Pakistan are and hopes the A team tour to India will help him and the selectors narrow the list.
With Cameron Bancroft, Steve Smith and David Warner all still banned an unprecedented number of places in the batting lineup appear to be up for grabs.
If fit, the Marsh brothers will have their names penciled into the first Test XI, in a twist most followers of Australian cricket would have scoffed at.
Incumbent opener Joe Burns was left out of the A side tour but has said that the selectors were positive when he spoke to them last.
Otherwise Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Kurtis Patterson, Usman Khawaja and Matthew Renshaw will be treating the four-day matches against India A as trials for the Test team for the series against Pakistan in the UAE.
Langer told the Weekend Australian: “It’s unprecedented. We’re going to wait until probably a week before the UAE tour to select the (Test) team.
“The answer is straight up ‘no’. Do we know the best six batsmen in Australia? The answer is ‘no’.”
Langer suggested that the India A series would allow the cream of Australia’s batting to rise to the top which likely means that the top performers on the tour can expect to find themselves in the Test XI.
He said: “It’s two-fold with India and Australia A. One, we want to see who performs under pressure and two, we want to start to get some continuity in our side where possible, but we also need to reward performance, not just talent.”
The issues facing Langer since he has taken the reins of the national team after Darren Lehmann’s resignation during the Test series in South Africa.
Langer admits to having sleepless nights since taking the job.
He added: “It’s the first time in my adult life I’ve woken up in the middle of the night.
“I did it a few times in England. I’ve done it a few times since I’ve been home. It’s bizarre but hopefully as I start getting my feet under the table and I start knowing who I trust around my new team of people at Cricket Australia, hopefully I start sleeping better.
“Certainly I’m gaining greater clarity in the foundations of what we are trying to achieve in the team for the next few years.
“I’m getting clarity about leadership. My huge focus is organic leadership and it can’t just be about the title ‘c’ or ‘vc’, it’s got to be about developing these young blokes.
“If I leave this role and there’s probably six or seven guys who you could make captain tomorrow then I reckon I’ve done a pretty good job.
“Because if we do that then not only will we be playing good cricket and I reckon the Australian public will be proud of us again, we’ll have earned respect and there will be plenty of heroes out there for Australian kids and that’s the way it’s always been in Australian cricket.”
Australia A four-day squad: Mitchell Marsh (c), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Michael Neser, Joel Paris, Kurtis Patterson, Matthew Renshaw, Mitch Swepson, Chris Tremain
Four-day fixtures in Vizag
2-5 September v India A
8-11 September v India A
A closer look as England claim fifth-successive overseas Test victory
The last time England achieved such a sequence was when they came from behind to defeat Australia 4-1 in the 1912-13 Ashes.
The stats that show Joe Root is on track to become England’s record Test run-scorer
The captain is now up to fourth on England’s all-time list
Sri Lanka v England Day 4: England sweep series with devastating display
Joe Root’s side had spent most of the first three days chasing the game in this second Test but made their move emphatically on Monday.
Joe Root urges England to ‘stay hungry’ after clinching Sri Lanka series win
The England captain wants his players to carry the form into the India series.
Jos Buttler: Everyone can learn something from watching Joe Root play spin
England’s captain scored another Test century in Galle.
England seal series win over Sri Lanka on dramatic day in Galle
Spinners Jack Leach and Dom Bess shared eight wickets between them before Dom Sibley and Jos Buttler guided the tourists home.
England in pole position for 2-0 series win after Jack Leach and Dom Bess strike
The tourists need 164 to secure victory.
England chasing 164 to beat Sri Lanka after Jack Leach and Dom Bess dominate
The hosts were dismissed for just 126 on the fourth afternoon.
Dom Bess and Jack Leach spin Sri Lanka into serious trouble in Galle
England are closing in on a series win.
Sri Lanka v England Day 3: England skipper Joe Root’s brilliant form continues
Root’s 186 helped England battle back against Sri Lanka in Galle.