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Cricket World Cup 2019

Langer assures options aplenty for injury-riddled Australia

Langer
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Australia head coach Justin Langer is optimistic that his side’s recent injury troubles will not affect the composition of their line-up, assuring that the squad has enough depth to fill the voids ahead of the World Cup semi-finals.

“There are probably about five different ways we can get out our batting order” Langer told reporters, ahead of Australia’s semi-final match-up against England. “We’ll keep sticking to the way we have picked over times – the top four guys who can score hundreds.”

With Usman Khawaja out due to a hamstring injury, Australia have called up Matthew Wade as a stop-gap replacement for the middle-order vacancy. Peter Handscomb is already with the squad, filling in for the ruled out Shaun Marsh.

Wade was the second-highest run-getter in both the 2018-19 Sheffield Shield, and the recent Big Bash season. His last game in Australian colours was during the India tour in 2017, having fallen out of national contention thereafter.

Handscomb, on the other hand, proved his worth earlier this year with impactful scores in the India series, but couldn’t hold onto his place once Steve Smith and David Warner returned.

“Wadey [Wade] has scored hundreds… Players who can play spin, Pete [Handscomb] does that really well. He’s been in really good form playing in the middle order for Australia A. He was brutally unlucky to miss out on selection in the first place.”

Handscomb

“Handscomb was brutally unlucky to miss out on selection in the first place”

Even if Wade makes it to the playing XI, the keeping gloves are bound to stay with Alex Carey, who is in the middle of a breakout tournament. In eight innings, he has 329 runs, the third-most by an Australian in the competition. Khawaja’s departure could give Carey a chance to be bumped up the batting order.

“He’s batting beautifully, isn’t he?” said Langer. “We’ve got so many options, and that’s the positive thing. Whether it’s Steve Smith batting at No.3, whether it’s Alex Carey coming up, we’ve got so many options – it’s a very adaptable team.

“The way he’s playing is exciting, not just for now but for a very long career ahead.”

Further down the order, Stoinis’ absence could be filled by a like-for-like replacement in Mitchell Marsh, who has looked solid with the bat in the ongoing Australia ‘A’ tour, also in the UK.

“We’ll weigh it all up. Potentially with Mitch Marsh coming in giving us some medium pace. He’s been bowling as well, played four Australia A games in pretty good form with bat and ball.”

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