Ahead of the five-match T20I series, Australia’s head coach Justin Langer has backed the 38-year-old all-rounder Daniel Christian to leave an impact on his return in an Australian jersey. Langer also insisted that Australia might employ a 7-4 model during the series, with two all-rounders.
Australia’s long road of preparation for the World T20, starts with a five-match T20I series against West Indies away from home on surfaces pretty similar to the Middle East. While Australia would have loved to have their ‘A’ team ready, the unavailability of several players has paved the way for the fringe players to make their mark.
In the wake of several unavailable players, the Australian selectors recalled 38-year-old Daniel Christian in the squad. While Christian emerged as one of the best all-rounders in the country, with his consistent displays in the T20 leagues around the world, his performance in the warm-up game has tilted the selection in his favour. Australia’s head coach Justin Langer has backed the 38-year-old to come good with his experience and form for the national team.
“He’s finally worn me down, Christo. I’ve been in the job three years and every time he gets some runs in any game or competition around the world, he texts me and says ‘coach I’m ready to go, pick me I’m the best all-rounder in Australia’,” said Justin Langer, reported Cricbuzz.
“So he’s (Christian) so good to have around the team. He’s a fantastic bloke, he’s got an amazing set of hands in the field, he’s, you know he’s clever with the ball – his experience, and we’ve seen throughout the Big Bash and all around the world actually – he hits the ball as cleanly as anyone,” he added.
“He’s got an incredibly easy swing of the cricket bat – so I’d love to have him in the team. It’s almost becoming an urban myth, isn’t it? You know wherever he plays, we win, so yeah, it’s great to have him in the team. It’s a bit like having in the past we’ve had senior players like Brad Hogg, who have come in really late and had an impact, and I can’t wait to watch Chris.”
Langer also revealed that with the availability of several all-rounders in the setup, there is a strong possibility that the national team will adapt itself to a 7-4 model from a traditional 6-5 model that they were operating.
“But you also if you look ahead: 1, to what we’re looking to, two, the little bits of the jigsaw puzzle we’re looking to solve or complete. We might look at this 7-4 model, where you have a couple of all-rounders. Different teams do it differently around the world. It’s a great opportunity for us over here,” he insisted.
With David Warner, Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell missing out on the tour, Australia would have to find ways to fill the gap, at the top of the order. Langer insisted that Josh Philippe, who made an instant impact in New Zealand would slot into the middle-order, with Matthew Wade opening alongside Aaron Finch, in Australia’s first T20I meeting against West Indies since 2014.
“We will probably look to bat him (Philippe) in the middle order actually for this series, or certainly for the start of it. We know he can bet at the top, a great opportunity to see how he goes. He’s got all the skills and with Matthew Wade wicket-keeping tomorrow – we know he can do the job. But Matty Wade, he’s the vice-captain of the team in this series, he’s been playing well as well so yeah he’s, he’s the wicky at the moment.”