After suffering a defeat in their last league clash against South Africa, defending World Cup champions Australia are scheduled to face hosts England in the second semi-final on Thursday (July 11) at the Edgbaston, Birmingham. Aussie head coach Justin Langer has assured Peter Handscomb of a World Cup debut opportunity against the English team. Langer also revealed that all-rounder Marcus Stoinis is fit to feature in the playing XI. While Handscomb will come in for the injured Usman Khawaja, Stoinis seems to have recovered from a side strain that he aggravated against South Africa. He both, batted and bowled, in Australia's training session at Edgbaston.
Peter Handscomb will definitely play
Handscomb was initially added to Australia's squad as a replacement for Shaun Marsh, while Mitchell Marsh and Matthew Wade were also called up as cover for Khawaja and Stoinis. However, going by what Langer said, it seems like Handscomb will slot right in.
"I'll tell you the truth. Peter Handscomb will definitely play, 100 percent" said Langer on Tuesday (July 9). "He deserves it. He was stiff not to be on this tour, he was so unlucky not to be in the initial squad after what he'd done to get us to that point. He's in good form, he played well for Australia A, gives us that nice balance in the middle order. He's got good temperament, he plays spin well, he's on top of his game, so Pete will definitely play."
Handscomb's stint for Australia A in the recent one-day games had him accrue 149 runs at 74.50. He also featured in all of Australia's 13 ODIs leading into the World Cup before being replaced by Steve Smith. "Stoinis looks good," added Langer. "It was a very good nets session actually, there was a bit of heat in there again and it was very competitive and that always brings the best out in Stoinis, so he did a good job today and he's fit to go."
Australia have made a mighty comeback after a horror period in their cricketing history. After barely managing to win any games last year and following a defeat at home across formats at the hands of India, Australia have done well to earn themselves a spot in the knockouts at the World Cup. Langer, who has played a key role in their revival, believes it comes down to working hard on "being more humble".
"If you go back 12 months ago there wasn't too much to be relaxed and chilled about in Australian cricket, was there?" Langer said. "And that's the truth. We went through a major crisis in our cricket. It didn't just affect our cricket, it affected our country, so there wasn't too much to be relaxed about. We've had to work hard on being more humble in what we do and being focused on playing good cricket but also being good people as well. And I know there will be some English people who will laugh about that but its actually true. We had to work hard on that and that's a good bunch of players.