Justin Langer has heaped praise on Aaron Finch and Travis Head, all but confirming that they will be in the XI in the first Test against Pakistan in Dubai from 7 October.
"There was never any doubt over those two for me, I thought they were certainties to play," Langer, the Australia Head Coach on his first Test assignment since taking over, said.
"Travis Head – his improvement over the last … six months is absolutely amazing. He's starting to look like an AFL (Australian Football League) player, he's really fit. The way he's adapted his game and improved his game, particularly against spin. He played brilliantly in the Australia A stuff, he's really impressive and he deserves to have a Baggy Green cap.
"Aaron Finch – I can't wait to see him play Test cricket. He's been brilliant in white-ball cricket over the last few years, he's got the temperament for international cricket. He's playing really well. He's one of the leaders of our group."
Matt Renshaw, who sustained a blow to his helmet on the second day of the tour match against Pakistan A, was seen training on the final day. While the 22-year-old opener looks ready to return to action, Langer is concerned about his lack of match practice.
"I think Matthew Renshaw will be physically fine – the one thing he's got is he hasn't played much cricket. He went on the Australia A trip, he got a hamstring strain … he hasn't spent much time in the middle. That's going to be the issue for him," said Langer.
I thought Marnus fielded brilliantly but was really good with the bat yesterday, bowled a few overs – he has certainly put a strong case forward for selection as well
"It's going to be an instinct call. We've got to weigh up what he's done in the past. He's obviously a very good young player. We've got to work out whether he's spent enough time out in the middle to be ready for a Test match."
Marnus Labuschagne, who came in for the injured Renshaw in the tour game, scored an unbeaten 39 in the game. He looked good on the field and impressed with his leg-spin bowling.
"We've seen in the history of Australian cricket a lot of people take their opportunities through injury. I thought Marnus fielded brilliantly but was really good with the bat yesterday, bowled a few overs. He's certainly put a strong case forward for selection as well," added Langer.
Additionally, Langer did not rule out Peter Siddle and said his experience in the longest format of the game might get him a starting spot in the first Test. It is likely to be be a toss-up between him and Michael Neser, who put on a decent performance against Pakistan A.
"(Neser) impressed us, he always does. He has a red-hot dip every time he plays, he's a good fielder, he's brilliant around the team," said Langer. "We weigh up 211 Test wickets and a guy (Siddle) who's bowling really well, a real professional. He's been a veteran. The role he'd play with his experience, we (selectors) have got to talk really seriously about that."
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