Langer: I like what Burns brings

JUSTIN Langer has moved to reassure Joe Burns that his volatile Test career does not hinge on his performance at the SCG.

Burns has endured a patchy summer since he kicked off with 97 against Pakistan, but the opener still appears Bangladesh-bound - with Langer putting plenty of stock in the strength of his combination with David Warner at the top of the order.

A year ago the Queenslander scored 180 in a Test against Sri Lanka only to be left out of the Ashes squad six months later when the side next took the field.

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But this time around, Langer's rebuilt Australia is in a position to value stability and Burns wouldn't appear to need a century against New Zealand in Sydney to keep the wolves from the door ahead of the team's next assignment in Bangladesh later this year.

Burns has never previously known what it's like to be backed in by selectors to this extent, with a 20-Test career interrupted by constantly being chopped and changed out of the side.

"I really like what he brings to the team. He said to me today, if he gets in he's not going to give it away this time and he's really determined," Langer said.

"I just really like what he and David Warner bring to the group. It's one of those things in the team that I talked about before the last Test match.

Langer says he is impressed by what Burns brings to the team. Picture: Getty Images
Langer says he is impressed by what Burns brings to the team. Picture: Getty Images

"I like what he brings to the group and he's playing well.

"It's like with every player, if you're not scoring runs you leave the door open, but certainly what he's bringing to the team at the moment is really valuable."

Langer has left the door ajar for leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson to make his Test debut at the SCG, but the prospect appears highly unlikely on two fronts.

Chiefly, it would be a brave call to drop one of the quicks who rampaged through the Kiwis at the MCG and have had plenty of time to rest afterwards.

The other factor working against young Swepson is the fact Queensland teammate Marnus Labuschagne is considered capable of bowling very decent leg-spin as a support act to Nathan Lyon.

"It will be hard to make changes, but that said, I think it's really important that we wait because we've seen it in the Shield games and the groundsman is telling us he's expecting it to spin, so we have to respect that," Langer said.

"But the boys are playing so well, we've talked about keeping the same group together as much as possible. James Pattinson came in and bowled so well in the last Test and that's really heartening for our depth.

"You get a big advantage out of that (MCG win) because they didn't bowl as many overs. The medicos are happy, the S&C (strength and conditioning) guys are happy, and hopefully they'll be OK for this Test."

An SCG Test debut for spinner Mitch Swepson appears unlikely. Picture: Brett Costello
An SCG Test debut for spinner Mitch Swepson appears unlikely. Picture: Brett Costello

Langer says the SCG could be an opportunity to test out Labuschagne's wares as a spin bowling all-rounder ahead of a two-Test tour of Bangladesh later this year.

"We're talking about finding another all-rounder in Australian cricket - well it might give us an opportunity to bowl Marnus and Travis Head a few overs, to find those extra overs we're looking for," Langer said.

"Every time Marnus gets the ball in his hand, it's pretty exciting.

"He's working hard on getting his lines right, so he makes them play a bit more, but he's an exciting prospect. The way he spins the ball - the more he can bowl in games - that's important. We've seen his development as a batsman … the more he can bowl the more he can improve."

 

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News Corp Australia


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