Langer hoping A tour will help settle Test lineup

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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’.”

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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

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