What's the story?
The coach mentioned that fast bowler Michael Neser and wicket-keeper batsman Cameron Bancroft will not feature in the playing XI for the Gabba Test. He also expressed concern about the batting line-up after Australia A suffered a collapse against Pakistan.
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Pakistan bundled out Australia A for a mere 122 runs in the three-day practice match ahead of their ICC World Test Championship opener. Imran Khan was the wrecker-in-chief for the visitors as he returned with figures of 5/32.
Azhar Ali’s men had earlier posted a mammoth total of 428 runs on the board in the first innings.
The poor performance of Australia A has left Langer disappointed, and he expressed his feelings during the interview.
The heart of the matter
Speaking to the reporters, Langer confirmed that Bancroft and Neser would be the 12th and the 13th men respectively for the first Test. He said :
“We haven’t named the XI yet but I’d say those two will be 12th and 13th man.”
The former Australian opening batsman further revealed that Joe Burns will open the innings for the home side along with David Warner.
When asked about Australia A's performance against Pakistan, the coach said:
"I was disappointed for the guys that no-one banged the door down. But I did say leading up to that game that it wouldn't just be picked on that game, it'd be a whole range of things. I just came to realize that we're going to have to show Pakistan great respect."
Burns did not live up to the expectations in the aforementioned practice match, but he received the backing of Langer. The coach added:
"He's got a very good first-innings record as well, and I know Davey (David Warner) likes batting with him. And I obviously have some understanding of how important it is for the openers to get on really well, and work well together and understand each other. I've said one of the things we need to do is get our top three cemented and get that as strong as possible because it's a pivotal part of winning games of cricket. So I'm hopeful the odd couple will get out there and, like we've seen in the past, form a really good opening partnership."
Langer also surmised that it is the inconsistency of the batting unit that has kept the Australian team as low as number 5 in the ICC Test rankings.
The first Test between Australia and Pakistan will begin on 21 November. It will be interesting to see how the opening pair of Burns and Warner fares in this contest.