Australia coach Justin Langer says the absence of a pair of star left-handers for the tour of UK shows the depth of batting talent available.
Langer is excited by the amount of talent in Australia’s current batting stocks, which sadly meant the exclusion of experienced duo Usman Khawaja and D’Arcy Short.
Khawaja was making promising sides in Australia’s ODI batting at No.3 for a majoring of the 2019 ICC World Cup before getting injured in the final group game.
Short was making waves as the designated middle-order ‘finisher’ after producing consistent international performances on the tour to South Africa prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Neither have made the extended squad of 21 that will be assembled in Perth this weekend for quarantine prior to their departure for England.
Langer signalled former skipper Steve Smith will remain at No.3 behind openers Aaron Finch and David Warner with Marnus Labuschagne coming in fourth.
“The way we’re going to set up our game plan at the moment, Uzzie (Khawaja) is competing with David Warner, Aaron Finch and Steve Smith at the top of the order,” the national men’s team coach and selector told cricket.com.au
“At the moment, our view is those guys are getting the nod ahead of him.
“Marnus is a bit different, he’s batting at number four and got a hundred in his last game (against South Africa in March) and he’s had an incredible twelve months.
“Ultimately Uzzie is competing against those top three at the moment and that’s why he’s missed out.
“He had an incredible year last year in white-ball cricket, but unfortunately he has two guys in Steve Smith and David Warner who are coming back into the team and they have the spot at the moment.”
Langer went on to explain that Short wasn’t selected due to the return of fellow spin-bowling all-rounder Glenn Maxwell.
Maxwell’s effectiveness as a part-time spin option offered greater flexibility in a UK tour squad, including other allrounders in Mitchell Marsh, Marcus Stoinis and Ashton Agar.
“I saw him (Short) yesterday play a practice game here in Perth, he played really well again as he keeps doing,” Langer said.
“He’s got the double chance, in the sense that he’s also competing at the top of the order which we know he can do.
“He does that really well in domestic cricket, but he’s competing again, like Uzzie, against those three I mentioned before.
“And we need some allrounders in the middle and at the moment he’s competing with Glenn Maxwell who has come back into the team.
“He’s taken D’Arcy’s spot, mainly because we feel more confident getting overs out of Glenn Maxwell than we do out of Shorty in the middle overs.