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
Teams will fear us – Moeen Ali turns attention to T20 World Cup after series win
England beat Pakistan in the deciding seventh T20 in Lahore.
England finish with a flourish in Lahore to wrap up T20 series win over Pakistan
Dawid Malan led the way with an unbeaten 78 as the tourists won the decider in the seven-match series by 67 runs.
Dawid Malan shines as England set Pakistan 210 to win Twenty20 series decider
Harry Brook added an unbeaten 46 as England made 209 for three in Lahore.
David Saker backs England bowlers to make splash at Twenty20 World Cup
He has been working closely with the team over the course of an entertaining back-and-forth series.
Phil Salt grateful for England backing after starring in big win over Pakistan
The opener had scored just 59 runs in his first five innings on tour but blazed 87 not out to guide England to victory over Pakistan on Friday.
Phil Salt powers England to emphatic win over Pakistan as series goes to decider
Opener Salt scored an unbeaten 88 as England won by eight wickets.
Unbeaten Babar Azam gives Pakistan shot at wrapping up England series
Babar held court throughout the 20 overs and guided his team to 169 for six.
Liam Norwell saves Warwickshire as Yorkshire suffer relegation to Division Two
Norwell’s career-best nine wickets for 62 runs sealed a five-run win over Hampshire on a thrilling final day of the season.
DCMS hearing on discrimination in cricket pencilled in for December 13
Azeem Rafiq and Lord Patel are set to be asked to appear.
England captain Jos Buttler ‘learning lots’ despite not playing in Pakistan
Buttler has a calf injury, which has ruled him out of the T20 series so far, but he insisted on travelling and has been observing throughout the trip.