World Cup 2019: Aussies plan to ‘mix and match’ top order

Australian coach Justin Langer Tuesday welcomed the top-order selection dilemma posed by the return of David Warner as offering “fantastic flexibility” to the team ahead of the World Cup.

The return of Steve Smith and Warner from their year-long bans for ball-tampering has left selectors in a quandary, with openers Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja building a formidable partnership in recent ODIs.

Warner has been in blistering touch in the IPL-12 and typically opens the batting.

But Langer said on Tuesday it was a welcome problem to have all three potential openers firing. “We have amazing flexibility now,” he told Melbourne radio SEN.

Incredible job

“Usman and Finchy have done an incredible job opening the batting. David and Finchy have done a great job in the past,” he added.

Langer said he would “mix and match” the top order in matches leading up to the World Cup.

“I love the flexibility of it. (It’s about) boys playing their roles for the team not just playing the roles that suit them,” he said.

Australia named its World Cup squad on Monday with middle-order batsman Peter Handscomb “brutally unlucky” to have to make way for Smith.

“Smith, we felt, would probably be able to play that role that Pete has done so well for us,” Langer said.

The decision to drop Handscomb also means the team has only one wicketkeeper in Alex Carey.

But Langer said Tim Paine, Matthew Wade and Handscomb, all named in one of Australia’s two A-squads which will play in England later this year, were on standby if Carey was injured.


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