As Australia edge closer to selecting an XI for Edgbaston, Usman Khawaja and James Pattinson have been given the go-ahead to return on the main stage whilst Cameron Bancroft is set to be recalled for the first Ashes Test.
Khawaja is set to play his first game since tweaking his hamstring during Australia’s World Cup loss to South Africa whilst Pattinson has not represented Australia in three and a half years due to multiple injuries.
Khawaja will bat at number three whilst it is understood that Matthew Wade will also be named in the XI, batting at number 6.
On-duty selector Trevor Hohns and Langer revealed that finalising whether Bancroft or Marcus Harris will line up with David Warner in the five-Test series opener was one of the most agonising calls.
It is believed that Bancroft has earned his spot over Harris, with Bancroft batting with Steve Smith and David Warner whilst Harris partook in fitness drills on Tuesday.
“I know what the reception is going to be. I think we all do,” Langer said. “There’s nothing we can do about it.
“He (Bancroft) is a good kid … physically he’s as tough as anyone you’ve seen in your life, mentally he’s going to have to be strong.” Langer wouldn’t confirm Bancroft’s recall on Tuesday, opting against revealing the 12 players now under consideration for the first Test.
“We don’t want to give England all our secrets,” he said.
Travis Head and Matthew Wade ae rumoured to be claiming the final two spots in the middle order, meaning at least six players who took the field in a test match for Australia are set to be watching from the stands.
Pattinson’s selection means Hazelwood and Stare are unlikely to take the field on Thursday despite the duo helping Australia steamroll England 4-0 in the most recent Ashes.
“Starcy, Peter Siddle and Josh Hazlewood (are fighting) for one spot,” Langer said.
“All three are great or very, very good bowlers aren’t they?
“Usman Khawaja will definitely be in. He’s fit, ready to go, he’s playing well and he’s a seasoned pro.”