In Fox Cricket’s recent podcast ‘Road to the Ashes’, Australian head coach Justin Langer had to answer some tough questions relating to his nation’s cricket team in their preparations for the 2021 Ashes.
The chief debate was around the changes in the batting order of the Australian team after their disappointing loss to India at home. One of the perplexing things about the defeat against India was that the latter weren’t playing their cardinal players in the series and had a relatively inexperienced side.
In the second innings of the first match, Australia dismissed the visitors for a meagre score of 36 runs and won the game.
The next match saw India leveling the series the 1-1.
With India eking out a draw in the third match, the decider was played at Australia’s fortress, The Gabba.
The last time the home team lost at Gabba was in 1988 against West Indies. But to their dismay, India thrashed the hosts to seal the series 2-1.
Reflecting on Australia’s strategy for the upcoming Ashes, Langer said that David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith and Cameron Green had locked their spots, but it’s the second opener along with the no.5 spot that’s fretting up his side.
Australia’s national selector Mark Waugh, who was also a part of the podcast, instantly recommended Will Pucovski’s name to open alongside Warner.
“You’re right BJ, I think an opener and a No.5 are our two spots that we need to nail down. Pucovski, if he’s fit and well, I think he’s definitely one of those spots,” Waugh said.
Responding to the same, Langer, without giving a direct answer, commented that he admired Pucovski and Green’s temperament which is suited to bat for longer periods and compared the duo to Ricky Ponting.
“I think he’s (Pucovski) got two or three double hundreds in domestic cricket already, which it’s rare for young players to do. That’s what I love about Cameron Green, that’s what I loved about a young Steve Smith or Phil Hughes or Michael Clarke, Damien Martyn or Ricky Ponting is they make huge runs, so his temperament’s excellent,” Langer admitted in the interview.
Specifically talking about Pucovski, the former Australian opener opined that the youngster could fit anywhere in the batting order since Pucovski has been bearing the responsibility of the Victorian side as an opener .
“I know he opened for Victoria, my view’s always been if you bat in the top three you can bat anywhere in the order. So I love the fact that he’s batting in the top three for Victoria. Where he fits in, time will tell and depending on opportunity and timing,” Langer expounded.
Pucovski made a staggering 494 runs at 247.50 in two Shield matches during the 2020/21 season, which included an unbeaten 255.
Meanwhile, Green finished with 236 runs at 33.71 against India and topped the run-scorers list in Sheffield Shield cricket, amassing 922 runs at 76.83 with a top score of 251.