How will Cameron Bancroft slot into the Australian Test side?

David Lord Columnist

By , David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    There’s no argument Cameron Bancroft deserves to make his Test debut against England at the Gabba next week. The question is where?

    Bancroft, who will be 25 on Sunday, has just cracked a career-high 228* opening up for West Australia in the Sheffield Shield – his second double-ton among 11 centuries, and 17 half-centuries.

    So does he replace Matt Renshaw as David Warner’s opening partner, or does he fill the vital middle-order slot?

    Even though Renshaw has been devoid of Shield runs, he averages 63 in his four Tests in Australia. How can the selectors drop him on a horses-for-courses basis?

    That leaves No.6, purely as a batsman, or maybe at seven if Bancroft is named to replace Matt Wade as the keeper. Whatever happens, Bancroft can’t keep and open the batting.

    Let’s say Australia fields first, how could Bancroft possibly face up in the first over of the second innings after keeping for 150 overs?

    So the baggy green XI for the first Ashes Test would look like this:

    1. David Warner (vc)
    2. Matt Renshaw
    3. Usman Khawaja
    4. Steve Smith (c)
    5. Peter Handscomb
    6. Jake Lehmann
    7. Cameron Bancroft
    8. Mitchell Starc
    9. Pat Cummins
    10. Nathan Lyon
    11. Josh Hazlewood

    Why Lehmann over Moises Henriques, Hilton Cartwright, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, or Travis Head?

    Reliability and class.

    Lehmann has a Sheffield Shield career average of 44, with 205 his best effort, among six tons and nine half-centuries.

    In his last game, against the Vics at the MCG, Lehmann cracked 103 and 93.

    Sure, he’s the son of Australia’s head coach, Darren Lehmann, but Jake has earned recognition in his own right.

    Jake Lehmann scores a century

    There’s another possibility of selection changes in Brisbane if Bancroft’s keeping experience is viewed by the selectors as limited, having only worn the gloves a handful of times.

    That said, Ian Healy made his debut as Australia’s Test keeper on the tour of Pakistan in 1988 after only six Sheffield Shield games for Queensland.

    Six.

    Healy went on to set a world record 395 dismissals, with 532 catches and 23 stumpings, before compatriot Adam Gilchrist lifted the record to 416, with 379 and 37.

    But, if a lack of time behind the stumps is seen as a deal-breaker, an alternative side could be Bancroft opening in place of Renshaw, with Peter Nevill – the best gloveman in the country – slotting back in as the keeper.

    Whichever way selectors Trevor Hohns, Mark Waugh, Greg Chappell, and Darren Lehmann decide, the Aussies should go into the second Test one-up.

    And handsomely win the Ashes.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles