Justin Langer and Steve Smith talk tactics during a nets session. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
Justin Langer and Steve Smith talk tactics during a nets session. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Langer’s old school plans to finalise Ashes squad

A SCHOOLYARD-style player draft could determine who plays for Australia and Australia A in next month's unprecedented Ashes audition in England.

Coach Justin Langer has been simulating the concept with his assistants, where papers-scissors-rock decides who gets the first pick and then two 'captains' are given 30 seconds to make selections.

The four-day tour match in Southampton, starting on July 23, is the final chance for fringe players to impress selectors.

The Ashes squad will be picked straight after that match - just days before the first Test at Edgbaston on August 1.

Langer said there were "different trains of thought" on how to decide who represents Australia and Australia A as it becomes mate versus mate with Baggy Greens on the line.

"The Australian A guys might all be playing well together and want to stick together in one team, and they play another Australian XI," Langer said.

"Or we might mix it up and have a bit of a draft system and get a bit of a competition with it, that'd be pretty cool.

"I've been doing that with the coaches and with the selectors - paper-scissors-rock (to see who picks first) and it's a great exercise.

Head coach of Australia, Justin Langer talks to Former player Ricky Ponting during the Australia Nets Session at Bristol County Court. Picture: Luke Walker/Getty Images
Head coach of Australia, Justin Langer talks to Former player Ricky Ponting during the Australia Nets Session at Bristol County Court. Picture: Luke Walker/Getty Images

"I've done it three (or) four times. You can pick anyone in Australia, who would you pick?"

Australia A will play four-day tour matches against Sussex and England Lions before facing Australia and 30 Aussies will be playing red or white-ball cricket in the United Kingdom next month with the Ashes on their minds.

Other selection ideas include pitting Australia's best batsmen against its best bowlers or picking a team of 'probables' against a team of 'possibles'.

Langer, armed with a whiteboard marker, asked assistant coaches Adam Griffiths and Brad Haddin to pick teams at last month's training camp in Brisbane.

Cameron Bancroft has made 156 runs in six first-class innings (averaging 26) as captain of Durham. Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images
Cameron Bancroft has made 156 runs in six first-class innings (averaging 26) as captain of Durham. Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images

"We picked 12 in the Griffiths team and 12 in the Haddin team. Then what happens is really interesting," Langer said.

"That's 24 players - I said to them who's missed out? They went, 'oh shit'. We had 10 more players, so that's 34 players.

"We've got to fit that into 11 - it's bloody hard, mate."

Australia's brains trust discussed plans for the tour match in London two weeks ago.

 

 

 

 

Langer has previously said that Australia A and County Cricket form would be weighted equally when selectors whittle 30 players down to an Ashes squad of 15 and a team of 11 for Edgbaston.

Selectors will be helped by Australia A's three four-day tour matches, county form, World Cup form and reputations.

James Pattinson, who is tipped to play in the Ashes, bowled 26 overs (0/64) on return from a four-week side injury for Nottinghamshire this week.

Marnus Labuschagne is averaging 55 for Glamorgan with two centuries and four scores below 15.

Cameron Bancroft has made 156 runs in six first-class innings (averaging 26) as captain of Durham.

"My gut feeling is it (Australia-Australia A) will impact one or two players," Langer said.

Because, let's face it, a lot of the squad you'll have a very clear picture. Selection is the hardest part of my job."

 

 

 

CRICKETERS PLAYING IN ENGLAND (SQUAD)

 

TEST INCUMBENTS

Marcus Harris (Aus A)**

Joe Burns (out sick)

Usman Khawaja (World Cup)**

Marnus Labuschagne (County)*

Travis Head (Aus A)**

Kurtis Patterson (Aus A)*

Tim Paine (Aus A)**

Pat Cummins (World Cup)**

Mitchell Starc (World Cup)**

Jhye Richardson (Injured, will join Aus A when fit)**

Nathan Lyon (World Cup)**

 

CERTAIN TO RETURN

David Warner (World Cup)**

Steve Smith (World Cup)**

Josh Hazlewood (Aus A)**

 

ASHES HOPEFULS

Will Pucovski (Aus A)*

Peter Handscomb (Aus A)*

Matthew Wade (Aus A)*

Mitch Marsh (Aus A)

Michael Neser (Aus A)

Jon Holland (Aus A)

James Pattinson (Aus A)**

Jackson Bird (Aus A)

Chris Tremain (Aus A)

Marcus Stoinis (World Cup)*

Glenn Maxwell (World Cup)*

Cameron Bancroft (County)**

Matt Renshaw (County)*

Peter Siddle (County)

Chadd Sayers (County, replacing Dan Worrall)

Shaun Marsh (World Cup)*

 

**Should make Ashes squad

*Could make Ashes squad

(World Cup and Australia A players will be split up for Australia vs Australia A tour match)

News Corp Australia


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