Former Test opener Marcus Harris heeded a call from Austalian coach Justin Langer to be ruthless scoring a season-opening double-hundred for Victoria

There was no message from either of the Waugh brothers when Victorian openers Marcus Harris and Will Pucovski broke the Australian cricket legend’s 30-year-old partnership record last weekend.

But more importantly for both Test aspirants there was an “excited” message from national coach Justin Langer waiting for the duo after they each made a double-hundreds in a 486-run stand to set a new Australian record which could have immediate national ramifications.

Selection in one of two Australia A clashes against the touring Indians in December could be a first step to inclusion in an extended Test squad for the four-match series.

Harris said he had heeded a mid-winter message from Langer, in which the former Test opener’s path back to the national team was clearly laid out, by being “ruthless” and putting up the big numbers needed to get on the selection radar in a climate where basic hundreds aren’t enough.

“Hundreds aren’t always good enough, you have to make big hundreds and I think we have seen the selectors reward that,” Harris said on Friday ahead of his second, and last, chance to impress when Victoria takes on Western Australia from Sunday.

“And now with a lot of guys making a lot of runs to stand out from the pack you are going to have to make a big hundred.

“I think I have proven that since I have been at Victoria, that I am a consistent run scorer. It’s just about going on with start and turning good starts in to big scores then all that other stuff looks after itself.”

All that “other stuff” is the selection concerns Harris, who scored 239 against SA, his second double-hundred in three Shield seasons and 14th triple-figure score, no longer worries about.

“I had a review with (Langer) in the winter, just about where I stood and what he thought,” Harris said.

“It was really clear, about being ruthless and making big runs. I know where I stand and it’s pretty simple.”

The scoreboard was pretty when Marcus Harris and Will Pucovski set a new Sheffield Shield record partnership against South Australia in Adelaide (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

The Victorian team’s season has been shortened because of a COVID-19 interrupted pre-season, and Harris watched on during the opening two Shield rounds as 13 hundreds were scored, giving all Test aspirants a head start.

But Harris, now 28, said he didn‘t burn “mental energy” worrying about what others were doing.

“As I’ve got older I don’t really care about what other people are doing. I just get on with it,” he said.

“We knew coming in there were going to be a few games played before us, you can’t control that. It burns mental energy if you are too worried.”

Harris said he was excited at the opportunity to play for Australia A against India, and would also relish the opportunity just to be arouned the Test squad again, if selectors, as expected, choose an extended group.

“Better than me being stuck at home wearing a mask,” he said.

“There are a couple of Australia A games, and there are going to be opportunities for guys even if they are not playing to be in and around the Tets squad.

“I know from being at the Ashes, even if you aren’t playing, its really good to be in and around the squad, so it would be great for guys if they went for the bigger squad.”

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