Justin Langer coaching the Perth Scorchers.
Justin Langer coaching the Perth Scorchers. Lincoln Baker

Langer to fill in for Lehmann as T20 coach

CRICKET: Western Australia coach Justin Langer has become the go-to man to take the pressure off national mentor Darren Lehmann, having been appointed to take charge of Australia's Twenty20 team in February while the Test side is prepared for the first Test in India.

Langer, 46, also filled in for Lehmann in June during Australia's one-day international tri-series in the Caribbean while the national coach took a break from the pressures of the job.

Australia won that series against the West Indies and South Africa, beating the hosts by 58 runs in the final and enhancing Langer's impressive coaching record in the shortest form of the game.

He has taken the Perth Scorchers to three Big Bash League finals and back-to-back titles in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.

The former gun Australian opener will coach the T20 side in three matches against Sri Lanka - in Melbourne on February 17, Geelong on February 19 and Adelaide on February 22. The first Test against India starts in Pune on February 23.

"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,” Langer said.

"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.”

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