Langer upbeat despite Scorchers woes

John Townsend
Justin Langer. Pic: WA News

Perth Scorchers will enter the Champions League as rank underdogs after losing first-choice players Shaun Marsh and Alfonso Thomas to injury and domestic requirements.

The Scorchers were already without Pat Cummins and Mitch Marsh due to injury, while Mike Hussey and Nathan Coulter-Nile are required by their IPL teams.

But coach Justin Langer was remarkably upbeat as the Scorchers squad prepared to travel to India today to contest the lucrative tournament.

Perth are already guaranteed $1 million as a participation fee and compensation for losing Hussey and Coulter-Nile, and Langer believed his team could bank similar success from its efforts on the field.

"The truth is that this will be a huge challenge for us and we will be the biggest underdog in the tournament," Langer said.

"We remain very positive and will be going all-out to win the Champions League, but we know we will be up against it.

"We have lost six of our marquee players but we have got some amazing kids.

"It is a long ride for West Australian cricket but if we can keep giving them experience and building this strong team that we are looking to develop then that will be a success."

South Australian seamer Joe Mennie will replace Thomas, who was withheld by Somerset as they seek to avoid relegation in the county championship.

But the biggest blow was the loss of Marsh to yet another hamstring injury.

The left-hander, one of the world's most dangerous Twenty- 20 batsmen, will be out of action for a month after tearing the muscle while fielding for Australia in the one-day international against England on Saturday.

Marsh's chronic hamstring complaints, which have been replicated by his brother Mitch, will be the subject of an intense medical inquiry by Cricket Australia and the WACA.

"It's certainly a blow for us and for Australian cricket, but it's a huge blow for Shaun," Langer said.

"It is a very worrying trend that both he and Mitch are having these hamstring problems."

Veteran batsman Marcus North, who stood down as Scorchers and Warriors captain after last year's ill-fated Champions League tournament in South Africa and will play for the Sydney Sixers this summer, is Marsh's replacement.

The WACA required permission from Champions League management in order to replace Marsh, with the go-ahead granted yesterday.

Perth squad: Ashton Agar, Michael Beer, Jason Behrendorff, Hilton Cartwright, Burt Cockley, Liam Davis, Brad Hogg, Simon Katich (capt), Joe Mennie, Marcus North, Joel Paris, Tom Triffitt, Ashton Turner, Adam Voges, Sam Whiteman.