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I didn't throw Renshaw under a bus: Langer


Test great Justin Langer has denied throwing Matt Renshaw “under the bus”, saying he was merely highlighting the increasing pressure that is building on the out-of-form opener.

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Renshaw’s Ashes hopes are in doubt after his drastic form slump continued in Queensland’s Sheffield Shield clash with NSW.

The 21-year-old scored 16 and 1 against the Blues, meaning he has failed to reach 20 in his past nine innings.

Recently, Langer noted that the the pressure was building on Renshaw, and pointed out that WA batsman Shaun Marsh was in sparkling form and deserved another crack in the Test arena.

Langer has also talked up the Ashes prospects of fellow Warriors Hilton Cartwright and Cameron Bancroft.

But former ODI paceman Brett Geeves questioned why Langer would point out Renshaw’s struggles instead of helping the youngster.

He said it was like Langer was salivating over the “deliciousness of eating the next 10-year opening batter, just to push a clear state-based agenda.”

Geeves, who played two ODIs and one T20I for Australia, wasn’t done yet.

“It is this lack of equality, clear favouritism and push of friendship-based agendas that is cruelling the cricket landscape,” Geeves said in his Fox Sports column. 

“It plays a key part in why our rankings, across all formats, continue to fall.

“It’s not bloody hard. Pick the best teams, at all levels, and leave the friendship politics of selection to those swapping sandwiches in the schoolyard.”

Langer felt his comments about Renshaw had been unfairly interpreted by Geeves.

“Brett Geeves made a comment that I’d thrown him (Renshaw) under the bus. But that’s not the case,” Langer said.

“It should always be very competitive to be in the Australian cricket team. That’s how it’s always been, and should be.

“Whoever it is, you’ve got to be on top of your game to be playing cricket for Australia. 

“Matthew Renshaw is a very good player. He’s got an excellent temperament. 

“He’s had a tough start to the season, no doubt. I have no idea what the selectors will do.”

Bancroft could replace Renshaw in the first Ashes Test after producing a series of sparkling knocks.

The 24-year-old has scored 76 not out, 86, and 228 not out in his past three Shield innings, as well as donning the wicketkeeper gloves.

Even Queensland coach Wade Seccombe admits Renshaw would find it hard to avoid reading headlines about his plight, but backed him to pass a looming test of character and retain his spot for next week’s Ashes opener.

The lanky left-hander was caught down the leg-side off Doug Bollinger yesterday, lasting three balls.

Renshaw – who made 16 in the Bulls’ first innings – now has 70 Shield runs at 11.66 ahead of the first Ashes Test starting on November 23.

Former Test opener Chris Rogers joined the chorus saying he wouldn’t be surprised if the Queenslander was dropped.

“To be out of form going into such a big series…it wouldn’t surprise me if they did (drop him),” Rogers told SEN’s The Run Home.

Asked if Renshaw could be distracted by unwanted headlines, Seccombe said: “It’s probably hard for him to stay away from it.

“It will be a testament to his character to how he responds to it.”

The early signs are good.

“He is very positive around the dressing room,” Seccombe said.

“He’s one of those fun guys. He’s loud, he’s young and boisterous and that hasn’t changed in the good or bad times.

“I am really comfortable with where he is at in his behaviour.”

Renshaw was considered unlucky to be given caught behind in the first innings with replays suggesting the opener didn’t knick Trent Copeland.

His fortune didn’t change in the second dig when Renshaw was caught leg-side to reduce Queensland to 2-5.

They recovered to be 5-129 at stumps on day two with a lead of 41.

“Caught down leg side – you never wish that on anyone but it happens,” Seccombe said of Renshaw’s luck.

“And it always seems to happen at the worst of times.

“(But) I think so, absolutely (he should be picked for Ashes opener).”

It is believed selectors will show faith in Renshaw for the Ashes opener with in-form Western Australian Cameron Bancroft given a chance to make his Test debut at No.6 at the Gabba.

Renshaw’s Bulls captain Usman Khawaja all but sealed an Ashes Test recall, despite claiming he was not thinking about a Test return after being dropped on Australia’s Bangladesh tour in September.

It was the sixth time he had been axed in his 24-Test career.

However, Khawaja may soon have no choice but to contemplate a comeback after appearing to nail down Australia’s Test No.3 spot with yet more runs for the Bulls in their Shield clash yesterday.

After Queensland were reeling at 2-5, Khawaja’s 51 helped them recover to be 5-129 at stumps on day two at Allan Border Field with an overall 41-run lead.

His half-century backed up his impressive 78 not out that dominated the Bulls’ 183 first innings.

He has made 346 Shield runs at 86.50 this summer to stake a claim for the first Ashes Test starting on November 23.

Seccombe wasn’t sure whether Khawaja’s form came down to not being preoccupied with a Test return.

But he confirmed the elegant left-hander was in a good head space after taking over the Bulls captaincy since his Bangladesh dumping.

“He is leading the team really well, he is having a laugh and having a good time and as a result he is in some pretty good form,” Seccombe said.

“There are a lot of factors there but it looks like he is in a good space both on and off the field.”

Khawaja saved Bulls blushes with his two-hour knock that included nine fours.

His 86-run third wicket stand with Marnus Labuschagne (56 not out) ended when he was caught in the deep trying to tonk Test spinner Nathan Lyon.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it,” Seccombe said of Khawaja’s form.

“Ussie is in special touch. 

“In all the conditions we have played so far he has looked a class above – he’s done it easy.

“It’s the way he adapts to the conditions.”

WA opener Cameron Bancroft scored an unbeaten 228 to lift the Warriors to a formidable 7(dec)-514 against South Australia on a batter-friendly deck.

The Redbacks were 6-322 in reply, with Alex Carey (26) and Joe Mennie (21) at the crease.

Opener Jake Weatherald (152 off 180 balls) set up the Redbacks’ innings with a blistering knock that included 26 fours and one six.

But the news wasn’t so good for Ashes hopeful Jake Lehmann, who made just 13 before being caught at slip.

WA paceman David Moody was the pick of the bowlers with 3-84, and coach Justin Langer was impressed with the 22-year-old’s efforts.

“He was very good on a flat wicket,” Langer said. 

“He leaks a few runs. But with his athleticism and pace, he’s always going to be a handful for most batters.

“If he just increases the number of his good balls, he’s going to be an outstanding fast bowler.”

Australia’s first Test squad is named on Friday.


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