Langer aghast at ring-ins idea
WA coach Justin Langer. Picture: Getty Images.

Cricket Australia may prop up the West Australian side to play England this month because the tourists are concerned about the depth of talent in the State squad.

England are scheduled to open this summer's Ashes tour with a three-day match against a WA XI at the WACA Ground on October 31.

However, a clash with the Warriors' Sheffield Shield fixture against Victoria at the MCG and the Australian one-day side's tour of India means at least 14 of WA's best, including Adam Voges, Mitchell Johnson and Shaun Marsh, will not play.

Reports from overseas suggest the England Cricket Board has raised the issue with Cricket Australia and is concerned about starting preparations for the Ashes with a soft match.

While the make-up of the WA XI will ultimately be decided by the WACA, a Cricket Australia spokesperson said it was prepared to clear Ashes contenders from other States to play.

But in a statement to _The Weekend West _, Warriors coach Justin Langer defended the depth of his squad and said it would be a shame for local players to miss out on the opportunity to play a world-class side.

"It's been a grand tradition for many years - going back to the Bradman era - that domestic sides get an opportunity to play against the international sides," he said.

"We have 24 contracted professional cricketers at all varying levels of experience, but they are professionals and from our point of view the tour match is a valuable opportunity for them.

"For them to play on their home ground at the WACA, in front of their families and supporters and against an opponent like England, would be a thrill and I hope that tradition continues."

The former Test opener also reserved a clip for England, reminding the bitter rivals that even when the Australian side was at its peak it never complained about playing county sides "at different stages of their cycle".

England's concerns are not entirely without merit given the performance of WA in the current Ryobi Cup in Sydney where they have lost their first four games.

They are looking for their first win against Tasmania at Blacktown today.

"It's been a grand tradition for many years - going back to the Bradman era … " " WA coach *Justin Langer *

The West Australian

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