Pakistan v Australia Test - Men's
Langer brings WA foe into Test fold
Having seen Travis Head at his best at domestic level, Justin Langer now has the South Australian in his Test side
12 September 2018, 01:26 PM AEST
New Test squad batsman Travis Head believes he is batting as well as ever after topping the run-scorers list in Australia A's drawn two-match series against India A in Bengaluru.
Head made a century in the 50-over quadrangular series in India last month and backed it up with scores of 4, 87, 68 and 47 against the red ball to earn his first Test call-up for next month's two-match series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
The South Australia captain has been spoken of as a future Test player for some time, and with the beginning of a new era under head coach Justin Langer, looks set to be handed an opportunity.
"It's been nice to have some consistency and be able to do it for a period of time," said Head, who scored 746 runs at 46.12 in last summer's JLT Sheffield Shield.
"I feel like I'm playing really well – I've been batting probably the best I have been.
"It would've been nice to get a hundred (in the first-class matches) but hopefully that's to come.
"I feel like I'm in really good form and it's just about continuing to do that and not change anything … keep working, keep learning and developing my craft and continue to get better."
With Victorian duo Glenn Maxwell and Peter Handscomb omitted from the squad, Head will likely battle Queensland's Marnus Labuschagne for a spot in Australia's middle order, which will be without suspended superstar Steve Smith.
Langer is an unabashed fan of Head having seen his WA side be on the wrong end of the left-hander on multiple occasions at domestic level. Head has posted two centuries and three scores in the 90s against the Warriors at Shield level and he also slammed a double-century against them in a one-day game in 2015.
"Every time I see him I remind him to (imagine) a black cap on, because he does so well against Western Australia," Langer said.
"Has a knack of making runs. He’s a bit unorthodox and he’s a terrific young bloke."
Head's Redbacks teammate Dan Worrall says the 24-year-old, who became the state's youngest-ever captain in 2015, has matured significantly in recent years.
"It's amazing news for all of us," Worrall told cricket.com.au.
"He's worked so hard and his game has improved exponentially over the last few years. We're all buzzing for him.
"What's impressed me and the other guys is the way he's really matured as a cricketer and a person. He's a lot more composed and measured in the way he plays. He's always been able to hit the ball hard and play aggressively, but I think he's now working for the team and making good decisions more often than not.
"I have no doubt that when he makes the step up he'll continue to improve and have a great career in the Test set-up."
Speaking on Tuesday, Head was still on a high having learned of his call-up just hours earlier.
"I'm looking forward to getting my phone, seeing a couple of text messages and then make a few calls at the airport," he said. "I'm sure (my friends and family) are all going to be really happy and excited.
"It's a great few days to get home and relax and see everyone, and then go to Brisbane and get back to work."
Head has been a regular member of Australia's ODI side for the past two years, appearing 39 times and averaging 37 with a century and 10 fifties. The left-hander, who led Adelaide Strikers to last summer's KFC Big Bash League title, also offers captain Tim Paine an extra off-spinning option, while national selector Trevor Hohns noted his advancements in the past year.
"Travis has improved his game immensely over the past 12 months and is the type of player we want in this environment," Hohns said.
"He's a hard worker who has performed well with the bat in his recent four-day opportunities for Australia A and South Australia."
Qantas Tour of the UAE
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc
Sep 29 - Oct 2: Tour match v Pak A, Dubai
Oct 7-11: First Test, Dubai
Oct 16-20: Second Test, Abu Dhabi