New players in hunt for spots on England tour: Langer

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia will pick their best 11 against England during the white-ball tour next month but fringe players can win selection by impressing in intra-squad warmup matches, coach Justin Langer said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Australia Nets - Kia Oval, London, Britain - September 10, 2019 Australia coach Justin Langer and David Warner during nets Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

Australia will bring a bumper 21-man squad for the T20 and one-day series in Southampton and Manchester due to the logistical difficulties of flying in reinforcements in the time of COVID-19.

Uncapped players like Josh Philippe, Daniel Sams and Riley Meredith will hope to debut in England but Langer said none would be picked for simply being fit and present.

“When it comes to picking our first 11, we’ll still be picking our best 11,” he told reporters in a video call.

“That’s how it’s always worked well in the Australian team. And for some of the younger guys, if they force their way in through some of their performances in the practice games, that’d be great.

“It’ll just be nice to have them and give them a feel for what it’s like to be around the Australian cricket team.”

Langer said internal practice matches would ensure players were ready for the first T20 clash against Eoin Morgan’s England on Sept. 4, Australia’s first international in nearly six months.

The tour would also be good preparation for selectors to manage players and build depth for what could be a long home summer confined to bio-secure hubs, he added.

India are slated for four tests in Australia from December but the domestic schedule is yet to be settled, with an outbreak of COVID-19 in southern Victoria state a lingering concern.

Langer said bigger squads were likely to be a feature of the summer due to domestic travel curbs and border controls, which could compromise the Sheffield Shield and Big Bash League tournaments.

“There’s going to be some give and take, that’s for sure,” he said.

“The compromise might be that some of our best players might have to miss some international cricket so they can spend some time seeing their families.”

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Shri Navaratnam