Time to jump on the Bancroft bandwagon

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    By far the most impressive performance by a player so far this Shield season has been the work of Western Australia’s Cameron Bancroft and on November 23, he deserves to be handed his first baggy green.

    But first, let’s look at who shouldn’t be picked.

    Shaun Marsh
    If this guy was a car, you’d have got some dodgy bloke you went to school with to do an insurance job for you. This bloke has had more chances than a 30-start maiden at the Mildura races and despite showing glimpses of brilliance, he has had extended runs of poor form and been injured more than Shane Watson and Bruce Reid combine.

    Unless we can find a truckload of reliable, white-coloured gaffer tape, then there is no way ‘Son of Swampy’ should be picked, which is such a shame, because the first two rounds of the season have shown us how good he can be in full flight.

    In an attempt win the selectors over, West Australian coach Justin Langer even spent a good portion of last week telling us how Marsh is a changed man, how his mind is clear, how he goes to his Zen place and is at one with the blade.

    The reality though is that Marsh nicks more than a blind barber, and was only about 300 days away from being told he’s too old to play in the first three rounds this year.

    I’m afraid that’s a big fat no from me old boy.

    Glenn Maxwell
    After a solid showing in Bangladesh, the incumbent seemed a certainty for the Gabba Test.

    Then I reminded myself that this is Glenn Maxwell we are talking about.

    Maxwell needed to play moderately well in the one-dayers in India, come home, score a few Shield runs, try not to play the reverse sweep, and his name would have been read out for sure. Unfortunately, he was made the scapegoat of Australia’s embarrassing recent one-day form – booted from the side after only two poor dismissals.

    This has had a profound effect on poor Maxi. Now back in the white clothes of his state, he seems dazed and confused, not sure if he should be looking to bat long periods and prove his worth as a ‘real batter’ or throw caution to the wind and play the way he always has.

    And here my friends is the issue: Maxwell still hasn’t worked his game out. He is stuck between being who he and the fans want him to be, and being who he needs to be to play Test cricket.

    Sorry Glenn, you are not the number six batsman we need.

    Australia Test player Glenn Maxwell raises his bat

    AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi

    Hilton Cartwright
    Against Pakistan last year, Cartwright looked like a player of the future. Yet, like Maxwell, Cartwright has been undone by Cricket Australia’s penchant for one-day cricket experimentation.

    Underdone and underprepared, he was thrust into the one-day side in India as a late replacement for an injured Aaron Finch in September and could not hit the ball off the square. In fact, since arriving in India for his one-day stint, Cartwright has averaged just 19.37 from his last nine trips to the crease.

    A beautiful, elegant batsman at his best, Cartwright looks scratchy and non-committal at present. Such as shame for one of the only guys in the game that had a first-class average of over 50 before the season started. His two ducks against NSW this week proved that he’s far from being at the peak of his powers.

    Jake Lehmann
    Don’t get me wrong, I love a bloke that looks like he’s jumped straight out of 1970s adult film, but talk of Lehmann as a possible replacement surfacing this week is bizarre.

    Until scoring 90 and 100 on a very good batting deck, Lehmann had amassed scores of 10, 6, 14,1, 25 and 6 in his previous six first-class digs. Not the type of consistency you want from a Mike Hussey-type number six.

    While many teams have had success with Lehmann’s brash and aggressive style in the middle order, a good number six must be able to grind when required and wield the willow when permitted. They only team Jakey boy will he selected in this year is the Shield Movember calendar side.

    Jake Lehmann scores a century

    AAP Image/George Salpigtidis

    Cameron Bancroft
    Unlike Marsh, who is almost old enough for the pension, age is still on Bancroft’s side. He seems to have been around forever but is still only 25.

    Let’s firstly dismiss the talk of Bancroft as a replacement for Matthew Wade. If you are going to pick a part-time keeper or a novice like Alex Carey, then you may as well roll out the wheelie bin and play with an electric wicketkeeper or simply give Hanscomb the gloves and pick another bat.

    When I think back to September of 2015, I immediately feel sorry for Bancroft. After having been named to replace the retiring Chris Rogers in the Aussie Test side to tour Bangladesh, Bancroft was shattered when the tour was called off. He looked every bit the broken man.

    He has battled through some solid seasons with the Sandgropers since, but somehow found himself behind a logjam of candidates at the top of the order, including Joe Burns and Matt Renshaw.

    Bancroft is patience personified, has a sound technique, and his first-class average of 37.68 is way better than it appears on paper, because he not only opens the batting against the new ball, he bats on the most difficult deck in the nation.

    Furthermore, this bloody good bloke was even kind enough to say “I’ll give it a crack” when teammate and wicketkeeper Sam Whiteman went down with a long-term injury.

    While the boys were quick to reward his solid batting, keeping and selflessness with a VB at the end of the last Shield match, I say stuff that, give the man a baggy green.

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    The Crowd Says (10)

    • November 11th 2017 @ 9:34am
      Don Freo said | November 11th 2017 @ 9:34am | ! Report

      Yuck. What an unpleasant article.

      The stuff on Marsh and Maxwell is cliche upon cliche with no acknowledgement of how they are playing the game. The “more chances than a 30 start maiden” rubbish is such cliche. Marsh hasn’t even had 30 starts.

      The Cartwright/Lehmann stuff is even sillier. Not just the reference to Lehmann’s looks as a selection criterion, but to discount his last two innings while using Cartwright’s last 2 innings as the reason to discount him. When a batsman gets a pair, he hasn’t batted long enough for a judgement on how he “looked”. No comment on how he looked the previous innings?

      Why is it that such opinion can’t just argue the merits of a player by arguing the actual merits? Why resort to that un-Australian, almost English, method of putting down other candidates?

      • Roar Rookie

        November 11th 2017 @ 10:02am
        Matthew Pearce said | November 11th 2017 @ 10:02am | ! Report

        I agree, miserable read.

        Let’s be honest, it’s very Australian to put down the blokes you don’t like at every and any opportunity. Can’t think of a single sport here where it doesn’t happen.

        Tall poppy at its finest.

    • November 11th 2017 @ 10:21am
      paul said | November 11th 2017 @ 10:21am | ! Report

      I think if you ignore the writing style and concentrate on the points the author is trying to make, there is some validity in what he says. We need as he suggests “a Mike Hussey number 6” and if that is the benchmark used by selectors, Bancroft could well be chosen and the others in this article not considered, at least at this stage.

      I think the reality though is Maxwell will most likely get a run in the first couple of Tests, assuming he maintains the form he showed last game. If he doesn’t and others make runs, it’s certainly possible Cartwright, Lehmann or another bolter might get the nod.

      • November 11th 2017 @ 1:03pm
        BurgyGreen said | November 11th 2017 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

        If “Hussey-like” means an all-conditions player with the ability to both defend and attack depending on the situation, then both Maxwell and Cartwright fit the bill anyway (some will dispute that assessment of Maxwell, but they need to watch him bat in long form cricket more). They also have better first class averages.

        • November 11th 2017 @ 3:01pm
          bearfax said | November 11th 2017 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

          And I thought fake news only applied to politics. Well I’ll be damned.

        • November 13th 2017 @ 3:28am
          DaveJ said | November 13th 2017 @ 3:28am | ! Report

          Better first-class averages than Hussey???? Or did you mean Lehmann (also wrong vis a vis Maxwell)? Or Bancroft? (True, in this case)

    • November 11th 2017 @ 10:47am
      bearfax said | November 11th 2017 @ 10:47am | ! Report

      We obviously have a Bancroftophile in our presence here. Dean , I’m sorry but you should never play with figures unless you cover yourself well, and unfortunately you dont.

      Firstly I would love to have Bancroft in a test side but I think at this stage unless the selectors are prepared to use him as wicketkeeper/batsman, which I think would be a good move, he just doesnt have the figures at this stage to justify selection.

      Lets look for instance at your argument comparing Lehmann with Banccroft. Lehman is averaging 44, while Bancroft averages little under 38. That’s only one run average better than young Renshaw, who is going through a lean period but is 4 years younger than Bancroft. Then we note your selective issues about Lehmann’s scoring prior to the ‘very good batting wicket’ and that he lacks Hussey’s consistency. Hussey was about 30 when he started in test cricket. Of course he was more consistent. A top test batsman at 30 should be. But Lehmann is 25 and still learning his craft, as is Bancroft. If you look at Bancrofts figures before his recent 86 and 76 (and I agree he toughed it out superbly) his scores in ten prior Shield matches were 18, 17, 104, 0, 16, 0, 2, 14, 21, 84. Some good scores there but hardly consistent. In fact over the same period up until the last game over 12 innings Lehmann averaged below his normal scoring at 38.75. But Bancroft over the same period averaged only 36.25.

      The problem with your argument is that you are claiming Bancroft is by far the best performing batsman this season. If you had said one of the most impressive I could go along with you. But Khawaja is averaging 72, Ferguson 55, Lehmann 53 and Bancroft…well he’s averaging a tad over 49.

      Like I said, I would love Bancroft in the test side, but at this stage only as wicket Keeper/Batsman. Maxwell is doing enough so far to hold his No 6 role, Cartwright deserves second spot, Lehmann is catching both fast, Renshaw is struggling but he’ll come back, and knowing how conservative our selectors are they will probably stick with Neville as wicket keeper. Personally I would go for either Hanscombe or Bancroft as wicket keeper to give us an extra batsman.

    • November 11th 2017 @ 10:51am
      John said | November 11th 2017 @ 10:51am | ! Report

      Cartwright or Lehmann at no 6 for me.

      Disagree the WACA is the hardest deck to bat on would say Hobart is the hardest.

      • November 11th 2017 @ 4:19pm
        James GC said | November 11th 2017 @ 4:19pm | ! Report

        I would even argue that once a batsman gets his eye in at the WACA, it becomes somewhat of a batsman’s paradise have a look at Warner’s record at the WACA has absolutely pillaged runs there.

        I would agree that Hobart would be the hardest as it consistently has something in it for the bowler, I think the Gabba with the new ball and cloud cover can cause many a batting collapse also.

    • Roar Guru

      November 11th 2017 @ 11:06am
      Ryan H said | November 11th 2017 @ 11:06am | ! Report

      I still think Maxwell or Cartwright deserve the first crack at number six.

      As for Cartwright’s struggles in the ODI matches, as much as he looked totally out of sorts, I find it hard to blame him given he was vaulted into that side to open the batting, given a role not suited to him. There is no way he should’ve ever opened the batting in those matches. His pair didn’t help him against NSW but I think we can forgive him for scoring a pair against our exact test attack.

      It will come down to one of those two I’d suspect, for Brisbane at least at any case.

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