Justin Langer has explained Australia’s controversial decision to leave young gun Will Pucovski out from the Gabba Test.
Justin Langer has explained Australia’s controversial decision to leave young gun Will Pucovski out from the Gabba Test.

Langer explains young gun’s controversial omission

Justin Langer says Australia's controversial decision to leave young gun Will Pucovski out from the Gabba Test came down to rewarding form.

The decision to leave the uncapped 20-year-old out of the XI to take on Sri Lanka was heavily criticised with former greats Shane Warne and Michael Vaughan both slamming the decision.

"Australia has missed a trick by not picking Will Pucovski to make his debut at the Gabba on Thursday," Warne wrote in an exclusive column for the Herald Sun.

 

The decision to leave Pucovski out of the XI to take on Sri Lanka was heavily criticised, with former greats Shane Warne and Michael Vaughan both slamming the decision.
The decision to leave Pucovski out of the XI to take on Sri Lanka was heavily criticised, with former greats Shane Warne and Michael Vaughan both slamming the decision.

 

"I am very disappointed. Pucovski is a quality young player and this was a chance for Australia to build its Test team of the future around him and newcomer Kurtis Patterson."

Vaughan, meanwhile, tweeted that Pucovski's exclusion was "an opportunity missed" for the "talked-of best young batsman the Aussies have produced for many years".

But Langer, one of three selectors alongside chairman Trevor Hohns and Greg Chappell, said the decision to leave Pucovski out and pick debutant Kurtis Patterson from outside the original squad came down to selecting the best player for the job.

"It wasn't agonising at all (to leave out Pucovski)," Langer told reporters in Brisbane following Australia's innings and 40 run victory over Sri Lanka in the first Test.

"We decided and it was controversial … I spoke to a few people I trusted about it and we just felt it was a really common sense thing to do.

"We've been talking about rewarding talent. You agonise more probably at this point of the season about what's going to get reported on, if I'm completely frank.

"It shouldn't be, hopefully I'll get tougher over the years that way.

"But it was a commonsense decision. He (Patterson) got 100 in both innings against Sri Lanka and you talk about rewarding performance.

"So when it came down to that, although we'd selected the squad before, I was really glad we had the courage to have that flexibility and bring someone in from outside that original squad."

After Patterson made 30 and Australian selectors brought in uncapped all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and left out discarded opener Matthew Renshaw for the second Test in the only change to the 14-man squad, Pucovski is unlikely to make his debut for the final Test of the summer.

But Langer said Australia's selectors hadn't gone cold on the prodigious talent, who has scored 588 runs at an average of 49 from eight first-class matches, with two centuries and a highest score of 243.

"I love the way he plays," Langer said.

"He's a really good-looking player. He's a great catch. He's a brilliant young kid. You can tell he wants to learn.

"It's all about timing isn't it, playing Test cricket. There's only 11 guys you can pick. He's got a huge upside, huge potential and hopefully when the timing comes he'll be ready to grab that opportunity."

Meanwhile, Langer praised Australia's young batting trio - Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head and Patterson - for their contributions in the big win over Sri Lanka.

"I thought the three young batters, Marnus and Travis Head's partnership, was significant. 166 runs, it's all about partnerships, both very important. Both got 80s. Both threw away an opportunity to score 100s. The best way to learn how to make hundreds is to make hundreds so they know they missed an opportunity yesterday," Langer said.

"I thought Kurtis Patterson looked like a Test batsman. He only got 30. He had such a good rhythm going and then there was a bit of a thought we might declare at the end of the play (on day two), probably just messed his rhythm a little bit, but he's a good looking player. Took some great catches in the gully. He's another cricket tragic, so you like having cricket tragics in the Australian cricket team who love the game."

News Corp Australia


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