Langer plumps for opener's slot in state side

Published: Friday, October 5, 2001, 21:59 [IST]
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Perth: The chairman of Australia's cricket selectors, Trevor Hohns, will be asked to nominate the position in which he would like Test batsman Justin Langer to shape up for his State side, Western Australia, this summer.
 Western Australia's new coach Michael Veletta revealed in Perth on Friday he will seek guidance from Hohns before deciding where Langer will bat in his State's opening match, a One-day Limited Overs contest, next Friday. Left-handed Langer, who has made a reputation as a regular number three, forged an unbeaten century when recalled to the Australian side two months ago for the fifth Ashes Test in an unaccustomed role as opener in place of New South Wales right- hander Michael Slater. The pair is now locked in a battle for the one unsettled position in Australia's top order as the Australians train their sights on the opening Test of the summer, against New Zealand, starting Brisbane November 8. Langer, 30, who believes he has better prospects of selection for Australia again if he aims for an opening role, has already approached Veletta about opening for Western Australia in early Sheffield Shield and One-day matches in a bid to impress selectors ahead of the first Test. "He's obviously very keen because he's done well at international level (as an opener)," said Veletta. "The State side has an obligation to develop cricketers for Australia and we also have an obligation to develop cricketers for Western Australia to make our side a success," he said. "We've got to be in a position to make a judegment call as to which is more important to us. And if it is to develop cricketers for Australia, which is very important to us, and Justin's role with Australia is as an opener, then I would suggest we would have to support that." Until he was used as a stopgap opener for Australia, Langer was a highly successful number three - a position in which he has previously excelled for his State as well.

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