Green Machine gunning for Trav’s Test spot
Justin Langer says boom all-rounder Cameron Green's Test ascension isn't a fait accompli if Travis Head and Matt Wade fire in a cutthroat route to team success.
Langer notes Head's record averaging 41 over 17 Tests, but the Australian vice-captain feels he's continually justifying tenure.
Langer would love to unleash a purebred all-rounder like 204cm Green, 20, who recorded three Sheffield Shield tons last season and bowls 140 km/h, but insists the West Australian will have to earn a Test spot.
"When you ask 'where does that leave Travis?' Well, look at his numbers," Langer said when asked by The Advertiser.
"He has had a great start to his career, is playing well, Matthew Wade the same.
"It is their position. It is nice to have competition.
"So, whether it is Cameron Green or any of the players, the advice always is be so good we can't ignore you and you can only do that through good performances.
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"Cameron Green is a talented young player, there are a number of talented young players around Australia at the moment.
"We selected him in Western Australia initially as a bowler, but (he) still has a long way to go there is no doubt about that."
Australia has a mid-year Test tour to Bangladesh scheduled pending COVID-19 travel approval.
Head is vulnerable at No. 6 if Australia chooses an all-rounder, which happened when Mitch Marsh was preferred for the final Ashes Test at The Oval last September.
Wade averages 36 in 10 Tests since recalled as specialist batsman for last year's Ashes and will battle Head for the No. 5 slot if Australia against turns to an all-rounder.
"The No. 6 position, we know they need to score hundreds in Test cricket," Langer conceded.
"We know traditionally in one-day cricket we need them to bowl at least 10 overs or some overs to help the set up of our team."
Langer looked over his shoulder from a 1993 Test debut against the West Indies until securing an opening slot alongside Matthew Hayden at Michael Slater's expense on Australia's 2001 Ashes tour.
Gifted batsmen including Darren Lehmann and Stuart Law played a fraction of the Tests their talent deserved, but fierce competition ensured Australian sides led by Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting dominated world cricket from 1995-2005.
"As an ex-player, when you are in the team it was hard having people smacking the door down because it meant you had to stay on your toes all the time," recalled Langer, who amassed 7965 runs at 45.27 in 105 Tests.
"When you weren't in the team it gave you a great motivation to keep smacking the door down as you might get a great opportunity."
A crack bowling all-rounder would open options for Langer in pursuit of a World Test championship.
Adding an Ian Botham, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Richard Hadlee or Jacques Kallis could make a poor side competitive or good one great.
Langer knows the potential in Green, having unearthed the prodigy when coaching Western Australia.
"Cameron Green is a very good young player and has had a good year, is obviously talented and is a very good all-round player as well," Langer said.
Originally published as Green Machine gunning for Trav's Test spot