Justin Langer to coach Australia in T20Is vs Sri Lanka

Cricket Australia (CA) on Friday confirmed that Western Australia Head Coach Justin Langer will coach Australia for its three KFC Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) against Sri Lanka in February 2017. The appointment was agreed upon during a meeting of CA’s Board of Directors in Melbourne on Thursday. Langer, who has twice coached the Perth Scorchers to KFC Big Bash League success in 2014 and 2015, will step in for Bupa Support Staff Head Coach Darren Lehmann, who will be on duty with the Test squad on the Qantas Tour of India as it prepares for the opening match of a four-match series.

Langer previously acted as interim Head Coach of the national side in June, linking up with the One-Day International squad in the Caribbean when Darren Lehmann took a break, piloting the line-up to success in a tri-series tournament against the West Indies and South Africa. The KFC T20Is Langer will oversee will be at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (17 February), Kardinia Park in Geelong (19 February) and the Adelaide Oval (22 February). Commenting on Justin Langer’s appointment, Cricket Australia Executive General Manager – Team Performance Pat Howard said: “We are delighted that Justin has agreed to undertake the role of acting Head Coach for the Twenty20 International series against Sri Lanka. We would also like to thank WACA for their support in releasing Justin.

FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs Sri Lanka, 1st T20I at Geelong

“He did a terrific job in the Caribbean in June when he stepped in for Darren Lehmann during the successful tri-series and so is already familiar with the working environment around the Australia team. He brings a wealth of experience as both a player and a coach and his record in helping the Perth Scorchers to a sustained level of success in the KFC Big Bash League means he fits the bill in all ways.”

Justin Langer said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working with the national side in the Caribbean earlier this year and so I am excited and very grateful to get this opportunity to do it again, this time with the Twenty20 International squad against Sri Lanka. Twenty20 International cricket is the one format in which Australia is yet to win a global tournament so every chance we get to play it and develop our skills is very significant. That means these three matches will be hugely important.”

“The advantage myself and the players will have is that the series will come just over two weeks after the KFC Big Bash League wraps up so we should all still be in Twenty20 mode. And with several senior players set to be in India ahead of the Test series, it really will give players an added incentive to perform in the upcoming KFC BBL to put their names forward for selection in the Sri Lanka series. Thanks to the officials at the Western Australia Cricket Association for giving me the chance to take on this challenge and thanks, too, to Cricket Australia for having faith in me to do it.”