Langer to coach Australia for Lanka T20 series

Canberra [Australia], Dec.9 :Former Australian opening batsman Justin Langer will step in for Darren Lehmann briefly as a coach for the three-match Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka in February.

The coaching role has become available due to a clash in fixtures, which would see Australia play their final KFC T20 International match against Sri Lanka in Adelaide on February 21 and the first Test of the Qantas Tour of India in Pune the following day.

Therefore, full-time mentor Lehmann and his backroom staff would not be available for Sri Lanka series as they would be preparing for the four-match series against India.

"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," Pat Howard, Cricket Australia's executive general manager of team performance, was quoted as, saying by ESPNcricinfo.

Langer, the coach of Western Australia, had previously stood in for Lehmann during the victorious ODI tri-series against South Africa and West Indies in June in an attempt to give the latter a break.

Admitting that Langer had done a great job during Caribbean tour, Howard said that the former brings in a wealth of experience as both a player and a coach which makes him suitable for the job.

Jubilant to join the national squad once again, Langer said that he had thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working with Australia earlier this year and, therefore, now looking forward to guide the side to victory in the upcoming tournament as well.

"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," Langer pointed out. The hectic fixture will also leave door open to potentially appoint a new captain, with Victoria batsman Aaron Finch looms as the frontrunner to take the captaincy reins in Smith's absence and South Australian skipper Travis Head being the another option.

The three-match T20 series against Sri Lanka will start from February 17, followed by games on February 19 and 22.

Meanwhile, Australia's tour to India will begin from February 23 when the first Test would be played in Pune, followed by games at Bengaluru (March 4-8), Ranchi (March 16-20) and Dharamsala (March 25-29).

Source: ANI