Former Australian opener Justin Langer will lead the Prime Minister XI against New Zealand in a one-day cricket match at Manuka Oval in Canberra on January 29.
The team announced by Cricket Australia on Tuesday with inputs from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also includes young New South Wales opener Phillip Hughes and Michael Klinger,who have been in terrific form in domestic circuit this season.
“Having a great Australian cricketer like Justin leading the PM’s XI will not only add great interest in the event but it will be fantastic to have him lead a group of young and talented Australian cricketers,” National Selection Panel Chairman Andrew Hilditch said.
“There has been quite a lot of change in the Australian team in the last couple of years and this game provides yet another opportunity for young Australian players to push their case for selection. Michael Klinger and Phillip Hughes have both been in terrific form in domestic cricket with both batsmen among the top three run-scorers in the Weet-Bix Sheffield Shield. Phillip has gained the attention of the selectors at the top of the order while Michael is also one of the leading run getters in the Ford Ranger Cup,” he added.
All the players have been selected with their domestic duties in mind which will see Queensland and Western Australian players rested for this game as they will play the night before in the Ford Ranger Cup.
Meanwhile,Prime Minister Rudd said Langer’s selection as the captain of the side provides the game’s administrators another opportunity to honour the left-hander’s contribution.
“Few cricketers have worn the baggy green with such immense pride and distinction as Justin Langer. This is a great opportunity to again honour the momentous contribution he made to Australian cricket,” Rudd said.
“It is exciting also to see a young squad of emerging players given an opportunity on this stage,who we hope will go on to be our champions of tomorrow.”
Langer is no stranger to Manuka Oval having being asked to captain the Prime Minister’s XI match after returning from injury during the West Indies tour in 2005.
“It is an honour to be asked to captain any Australian cricket team and leading the PM’s XI will be no different. When I last played at Manuka we didn’t get a result so I’m keen to help the Prime Minister chalk up his first win,” Langer said.
“With so much change taking place in the Australian team at the moment,this match provides some of our younger stars with a chance to hone their skills against another international team and show selectors they can mix it with the best. I’m sure the Black Caps will also be keen to find some form before they get stuck into the Commonwealth Bank Series as well.”
Prime Ministers XI squad: Justin Langer (Captain),Phillip Hughes,Michael Klinger,George Bailey,Tim Paine,Dan Christian,Jon Holland,Callum Ferguson,Clint McKay,Moises,Jason Behrendorff,Ashton May (12th man).