Justin Langer, Head coach of the Australian cricket team, has hinted at changes in the playing XI for the second and final Test against Pakistan to be played from Tuesday (October 16) at Abu Dhabi.
On Friday (October 12), Langer has not denied the possibility of the inclusion of the opener Matt Renshaw for the final encounter in the UAE, saying “it could come, time will tell".
Australia's hopes of a first Test series win in Asia since 2011 is still alive with a draw in the first Test in Dubai on the back of the heroic efforts from Usman Khawaja, Tim Paine, and Travis Head.
However, Khawaja and debutant Aaron Finch, who put on first-wicket stands of 142 and 87, gave a solid start to the Australian against Pakistan that will put selectors in dilemma with their openers for the final, but Langer insisted that Renshaw remains a potential No.3 choice in the Test line-up.
As per reports in cricket.com.au, Langer said of Renshaw, “He’s a very, very good young player. The only thing that played against him this game and not his ability, not his work ethic, he’s done all the things so well over the last six months. It’s really hard to come into these conditions when you haven’t got match fitness. People could argue with that and that’s fine but my view on the world is that there’s nothing like match practice and he just hadn’t had any.”
He further added, “He’s a terrific young player, really good in the group. I admire the way he’s gone about it, he had a smile on his face the whole time and there’s plenty of future for Matt Renshaw. Whether it comes in opening or batting No.3 or … it could come anywhere. He’s a good player. I’ve always said if you open you can bat anywhere in the order. Time will tell.”
In Dubai, both Finch (62 and 85) and Head (0 and 72) played vital innings in their maiden Tests, Head Coach is really impressed with the partnerships against Pakistan.
On Test debutants, Langer noted, “One of the main building blocks is a really strong opening partnership. So for the guys to get the 140-run opening partnership and an 87-run partnership … that’s huge for our team. Whenever you’re building a team you’re always looking for the opening partnership and they (Khawaja and Finch) have certainly both put their best foot forward and they’ve obviously got a good chemistry to have two great partnerships.”
Meanwhile, the Coach further went on to admit that Australian are thinking about how to manage fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle, as the enormous summer ahead with six Tests against India and Sri Lanka before a World Cup and then an Ashes series.
Langer signed off by saying, “Starcy bowled a lot of overs first innings, we certainly understand that. It’s always the million-dollar question, what do we do with the fast bowlers? Because if we’ve got our fast bowlers, particularly in Australia or going forward to England next year, like the opening partnership (or) the top three batters are incredibly important to Australia being successful. We’ll manage it. It’s the start of the season and hopefully, we’ll manage them well throughout the summer and this tour so far.”
(Input: Cricket Australia Network)