Bancroft's bumpy road to potential debut | cricketnetwork.com

Bancroft's bumpy road to potential debut

15 November 2017

Resolute right-hander in red-hot form and putting his name up in lights for a spot in the coming Magellan Ashes

Formerly the right batsman at the wrong time, Cameron Bancroft is in red-hot form and on the cusp of a Magellan Ashes debut.

Bancroft was somewhat of a forgotten man a month ago – despite carrying his bat for an unbeaten 206 during the final game of this year's county stint.

The resolute right-hander is now being floated as a viable answer to any one of the nation's three selection conundrums.

Matthew Renshaw and Peter Nevill are expected to receive good news from selectors.

"He's in the form of his life!" Bancroft's special moment

But even if overlooked as an opener and wicketkeeper, Bancroft's unbeaten 228 at the WACA may make him irresistible to a panel wanting the best available batsman at No.6.

A Baggy Green would be reward for Bancroft's resilience and adaptability – traits that resulted in a call-up for Australia's Test tour of Bangladesh in 2015.

Then 22, he was already being talked about among insiders as a subcontinent specialist based on development tours to the region plus a knack of knuckling down.


The Baggy Green went begging, with tour was aborted at the last minute for safety reasons. 

Bancroft was overtaken in the pecking order, lost confidence, started to overthink the game and couldn't get a look in – barring a one-off Twenty20 for Australia.

Day two highlights: Western Australia v South Australia

Former chairman of selectors Rod Marsh forecast Bancroft becoming "a very good player for us over a long period of time", while the current panel is also aware of his talent.

Bancroft was set to play for Australia A earlier this year. 'Mother Cricket' – as Bancroft's idol-turned-mentor Justin Langer likes to call the sport's seemingly mystical forces – intervened again.

The West Australian was collateral damage in the ugly pay dispute. He stayed in England and experienced the angst in relative isolation compared to other members of the squad, who assembled in Brisbane for a week of training before the pin was pulled.

Some members of the squad were in tears about the cancelled trip to South Africa. Bancroft went back to work with Gloucestershire.

Renshaw falls cheaply again in Brisbane

The no-nonsense operator gave selectors a timely reminder of his talent with an unbeaten 76 against the Test attack last week - the first time a keeper has carried his bat through an entire Sheffield Shield innings.

The runs have continued to flow but it would be foolish to think Bancroft is purely in the mix because of the past fortnight.

Since opening the batting for Australia at the under-19 World Cup in 2012, Bancroft has put a high price on his wicket. It doesn't matter if he is yet to score or has just reached three figures.

Peter Nevill falls for 17 in latest Ashes push

It is a trait Langer was renowned for and something Steve Smith is desperate to see more of.

"Growing up, I loved JL's grit at the crease," Bancroft noted earlier this year.

The uncapped batsman's prowess - and willingness to endure painful blows - under the lid is also widely respected. As is his work ethic.

"He's got elite fitness ... no one in the world works harder," Langer said this week.

Ponting hits back at Ashes greats

2017-18 International Fixtures:

Magellan Ashes Series

First Test Gabba, November 23-27. Buy tickets

Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Buy tickets

Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Buy tickets

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Buy tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Buy tickets

Gillette ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Buy tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Buy tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Buy tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Buy tickets

Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28. Join the ACF

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Buy tickets

Gillette T20 INTL Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Buy tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Buy tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Buy tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 13

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21