Justin Langer will undergo a fitness test before the first match of the three-Test series against West Indies, which starts on November 3. Langer retired hurt after being hit by a Gerard Denton delivery during an ING Cup match between Western Australia and Victoria today (Saturday), and scans later revealed a hairline fracture.
Trefor James, the medical officer for Cricket Australia, said: "Justin was in considerable pain after receiving the knock to the rib-cage, and scans taken of that area have discovered a small fracture in one of his ribs. We are optimistic, though, that he will be able to take his place in the Australian line-up for next week's Test, however he will need to be monitored prior to that time before a final decision is made." The medical team also decided that Langer would travel with the team to Brisbane, the venue of the first Test.
Langer himself was confident of recovering in time for the match. "I'll be playing on Thursday," Langer was quoted as saying by AFP. "Apparently with a cracked rib the thing you have to get used to is the pain... I'm not going to miss a Test match."
Langer has been in excellent touch in the last one year, averaging almost 57 from his last 14 Tests, with three centuries and six fifties in 26 innings. Langer was also the one batsman who consistently handled England's pace and swing with some degree of comfort during the recently concluded Ashes series, scoring 394 runs at nearly 44.
Should Langer withdraw, the most likely replacement would be his state team-mate Mike Hussey. Hussey has also been in excellent form at the one-day level for Australia and opened the innings for Australia A on their recent tour of Pakistan.