Melbourne, Mar 10 : Australia head coach Justin Langer has said that the team is actively searching for a white-ball finisher in their middle order, akin to the role Jos Buttler plays for England. Their three-match ODI series against New Zealand, beginning on March 13, provides an opportunity for Australia to test the depth in their middle order, and potentially hone in on batsmen who could fill the ‘finisher’ role.
"We've been fortunate in the past with a Mike Hussey or a Michael Bevan who are masters at it. (MS) Dhoni is a master of it ... Jos Buttler has been brilliant at it for England,” Langer told reporters before Australia’s departure from South Africa, after their 3-0 drubbing in the ODI series." "What I've learned is everyone in the world is looking for it," he said.
Over the last year, as many as 13 batsmen have occupied positions 4-7 for Australia in ODIs, with as many as nine different batsmen tried out at No.6. Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis occupied the spot in five matches each, but Stoinis, particularly, misfired in the role, scoring just 27 runs in four innings. In South Africa, Mitchell Marsh was trialled at No.6 in the second and third ODIs, and responded with scores of 32 and 36, an ICC report on Tuesday said. Alex Carey, who had stated earlier this year that he wished to finish games like Dhoni, played at No.7 all through 2019, barring four out of 20 innings. He scored crucial runs in that position, including back-to-back scores of 71 and 85 in the 2019 ICC Men’s World Cup, but has since moved to 5 and 6, before being slotted back at 7. Langer feels that the current scenario is a good opportunity for someone to seal the spot, starting with the home series against New Zealand.
"So it's a role that's there for someone to grab hold of," said Langer. "No one at this stage has absolutely secured it, have they? But there are good opportunities there for someone to do that," he added. (UNI)