Justin Langer, Australia head coach on Wednesday heaped praise on young opening batsman Will Pucovski but didn’t make it clear whether he would get a chance to make his Test debut in the upcoming series against India.
Will Pucovski was rewarded for his Sheffield Shield heroics with a maiden call-up in the Australian Test squad for the four-match Border-Gavaskar series against India starting December 17.
Justin Langer: Will Pucovski Ready To Play Test When Opportunity Comes, And He Has Flexibility To Bat Anywhere
The 22-year-old right-hand batsman has played 22 first-class matches so far and amassed 1720 runs at an average of over 55. He smashed two consecutive double hundreds in his first two Sheffield Shield games this season for Victoria, scoring 255 not out and 202 against South and West Australia becoming the first batsman since Dene Hills in the 1997–98 season to score consecutive double-hundreds in the Sheffield Shield.
But despite his recent exploits with the bat, it seems that Australia will go in the test matches with the regular opening pair of David Warner and Joe Burns in the first match against India, which will be played in Adelaide from December 17. Joe Burns failed in last three domestic matches but scored 135 against Victoria and 93 against West Australia for Queensland earlier.
“We think very, very highly of Will. When the opportunity comes, he’s ready to play Test cricket. The opportunity hopefully will come for him at some point, whether it’s this series or a series to come,” Justin Langer told reporters via conference call on Wednesday.
Justin Langer added that it was more likely Will Pucovski could come into the side through the middle order, a similar path to that was taken earlier by former captain Ricky Ponting, who started there before cementing the number three spot.
“For Will it’s about where the opportunities come. For the last 30 years it’s been drummed into me if you can bat top three in Shield cricket, you can bat anywhere. Someone like Will, who’s opening the batting for Victoria and has batted three, it gives him the flexibility to bat anywhere,” Langer added.
There are 5 uncapped players in the Australian team for 4 tests as batsman Will Pucovski, all-rounder Cameron Green, pacer Michael Neser, spinner Mitchell Swepson and pacer Sean Abbott are yet to feature in tests.
Justin Langer: Steve Smith Coming Back In Limited Overs Will Give Management Headaches To Pick Squad
Justin Langer also spoke about the team selection headaches which they are having since the return of Steve Smith, who had missed the ODI series in England but will be coming back into the middle order. Moises Henriques makes a return to ODI and T20I squad while Cameron Green makes it to the limited-overs squad and tests for the first time.
“In England we had Mitch Marsh, Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell able to get us at least 10 overs. So we like that combination, the extra all-rounder. Obviously Steve will come straight back in and there’s some headaches but they’re good headaches,” Justin Langer stated.
Moises Henriques last played a Test in 2016 while his last ODI and T20I came in 2017. Moises Henriques who is of 33 years age led the Sydney Sixers to last season’s BBL title and has also performed strongly for New South Wales in the initial rounds of the Sheffield Shield.
Steve Smith played 73 tests, 125 ODIs and 42 T20Is. He averages a staggering 62.84 in Tests, and he averages 42.46 in ODIs and a modest 27.38 in T20Is. He has 26 test tons and 9 ODI tons.