Justin Langer’s appears to have been a case of right place, right time, but he has compiled an impressive set of credentials before and since taking over as Australia men’s cricket leader.
He enjoys the luxury of having what many will admit is the best attack going, with pacers and spinners aplenty, leaving him to focus on the batters.
Langer will be watching the batting closely and it has already been revealed that Michael Neser and Cameron Bancroft will not be starting for Australia when the first Test agasint Pakistan is played in a couple days at the Gabba.
Neser is a competent bowler and might still have the opportunity, but Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazelwood could not be overlooked after helping Australia retain the Ashes.
The batting collapsed to 9 for 57 in Perth, a figure that is nothing less than scary.
“I was disappointed for the guys that no-one banged the door down,” Langer said. “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 realise that we’re going to have to show Pakistan great respect.”
Respect, indeed. Pakistan does not view international cricket with anything that could be considered casual.
Langer has Steve Smith and David Warner, both playing their first home Tests in nearly two years.
Beyond those two, however, and Warner does pose an enigmatic quandary, Joe Burns and Travis Head will be given the first chance to solidify the batting for Langer.
Langer has to take a dual perspective, that of achieving immediate success and future planning.
Langer pointed out that the reason Australia are currently ranked fifth in Test cricket is the absence of big opening first innings.
Burns has made a nice comeback. In his last Test with Sri Lanka in Canberra, he slugged 180 and his partnerships with Warner have been productive and include four tons and a 44.31 average.