Cameron Bancroft must play in Brisbane, but who does he replace?

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    Western Australian opening batsman and wicketkeeper Cameron Bancroft must play in the first Test for Australia, but with plenty of players in a form rut just over a week before the first Test, the question of who he should replace remains in the balance.

    Bancroft has been sensational in his last three innings. A fortnight ago, his name was nowhere to be seen in Ashes conversations, but a big century against South Australia on Day 1 seems to have made a case that he must be included.

    With the side being named on Wednesday, players are just about out of chances to impress the selectors, and Bancroft put a highlighter over his name yesterday.

    If 76 not out and 86 against New South Wales and the Australian attack wasn’t enough last round, then going to stumps on 161 not out, with others struggling around the country, sure should be.

    The real question left for the selection panel to decipher is where Bancroft will play in the side. While he is a wicketkeeper, his Shield runs, scored against quality attacks, have been made from the top of the order.

    While the New South Wales attack featured Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Patrick Cummins and Nathan Lyon last week, the South Australian attack he came up against yesterday is nothing to be sneezed at either.

    It was headlined by Chadd Sayers, Kane Richardson, Daniel Worrall and Joe Mennie and while conditions were favourable for batting at the W.A.C.A, players still had to make the most of their conditions. That’s something Shaun Marsh and Hilton Cartwright weren’t able to do at the top of the order, falling for 17 and 35 respectively – but more on them shortly.

    Batting conditions were less than friendly in the other two games which got underway around the country yesterday, but Matt Renshaw and Matthew Wade both continue to stick their hands up as players in form that suggests they shouldn’t be there on November 23.

    Renshaw fell for just 16 to the bowling of Trent Copeland yesterday, while Wade made just five from 42 balls before falling to Peter Siddle. It’s his second grinding innings in a row, and even if he is keeping semi-decent by his usual standards, it’s production with the bat which has long kept him in the side.

    Right now, he isn’t doing that. Wade’s form is horrific, and while nor Peter Nevill or Alex Carey batted yesterday, at this point, given the runs they have scored across the first two rounds, it doesn’t matter all that much. It’s clear Bancroft is the key challenger to Wade.

    Questions remain over the Western Australian’s ability behind the sticks, but he has put together more than enough dismissals to illustrate he is perfectly competent and would do at least a similar job to Wade, while likely producing more with the bat.

    Simply put, Bancroft is the best man for the job.

    One thing the selectors won’t do in Test cricket is bat their keeper at the top. It’s not going to happen, so mark him in for seven if Wade is to be dropped, which appears as if it needs to happen.

    It still leaves the questions about Renshaw though. Plenty, myself included, had started to doubt his spot last week, but falling to the bowling of Trent Copeland yesterday – albeit in tough conditions – has put him under added pressure.

    Matt Renshaw bats during a test match against India

    (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

    The problem is a lack of replacements. Shaun Marsh has made two good scores during the opening rounds of the Shield, but by this point, you wonder if he has ran out of chances with the selectors.

    Victorian Marcus Harris is one player who hasn’t been mentioned. He is probably a long way away from being selected, but after a century in tough conditions last round and an aggressive 61 not out to stumps yesterday, he must be on the selectors’ radar for later in the series if he can keep similar levels of form.

    For now, Renshaw is probably still in the XI to be picked on Wednesday, but there will be a couple of sleepless nights ahead for the Queenslander, given his last chance to impress has just come and gone.

    Moving away from the battles shaping opening and wicketkeeping, the other slot in question is the No.6. It’s extremely difficult to say who should be picked, because no one has put their hand up as yet. Runs have been hard to come by and bowling opportunities limited.

    Hilton Cartwright and Glenn Maxwell were the two previously thought to be in the driver’s seat for the spot, but failures for both players yesterday adds more questions than answers.

    Maxwell made just four for Victoria batting at first drop, while as already mentioned, Cartwright scored 35 doing the same thing for the Warriors.

    While the Victorian is the incumbent for the position after doing a strong job in Bangladesh and India, it’s hard to justify him being picked at the moment. Cartwright has bowling to offer, which is going to do his chances no harm at the selection table, but neither are in great form.

    Mitchell Marsh, who most will roll their eyes at scored a solid 95 from just 110 balls yesterday, but it’s hard to see the selectors picking him for batting alone given a tediously low Test average of just 21.74.

    For that reason, Cartwright is still probably in the box seat to be wearing the baggy green on November 23.

    Hilton Cartwright of Australia bowls

    (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

    As for the rest of the squad, there wasn’t a lot to write home about in difficult conditions across the board. David Warner had his third consecutive failure, making just 26 against Queensland, while captain Steve Smith scored 44.

    Usman Khawaja had the performance of the day, finishing 78 not out in the Bulls effort of 183.

    Peter Handscomb’s form has to be concerning after he went for a duck yesterday, while the bowling attack were all being rested, with the exception of Nathan Lyon, who picked up three wickets.

    With all that being said and the XI set to be picked in just over 24 hours, let’s have a look at the possible squad which will be picked, noting there is one more day of Shield action for this to change around.

    Possible XI for first Test
    1. David Warner (vc)
    2. Matt Renshaw
    3. Usman Khawaja
    4. Steve Smith (c)
    5. Peter Handscomb
    6. Hilton Cartwright
    7. Cameron Bancroft (wk)
    8. Mitchell Starc
    9. Patrick Cummins
    10. Josh Hazlewood
    11. Nathan Lyon

    12. Jackson Bird

    The second day of Shield action in Round 3 continues from 10:30am (AEDT).

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,100 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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    The Crowd Says (57)

    • Roar Guru

      November 14th 2017 @ 9:23am
      JamesH said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:23am | ! Report

      I’m not sure why you think Cartwright is ahead of Maxwell for the #6 spot, Scott. Maxwell did reasonably well in the test side in Asia and scored a pair of 60s in the last Shield game. Cartwright did score one half century in the first innings of the season but has returned two 30s and two ducks since. His bowling is barely more attractive than Maxwell’s is and I don’t think the selectors would consider him more than a part-timer at this point. The race is tight but I’d be surprised if Maxy doesn’t have his nose in front.

      Bancroft is starting to look irresistible, tho. It’s not just his form in the Shield – he performed strongly in County Cricket and then the JLT Cup too. I wonder if he might be installed as a keeper-batsman at 6, pushing Maxwell/Cartwright down to 7.

      Just quietly, 22yo Gabe Bell is a bit of a shining light for Tassie at the moment. He was averaging under 24 with the ball from his first 3 Shield matches before this round and he now has 4/22 against Victoria, having dismissed Dean, Maxwell, Handscomb and Finch. One to watch.

      • November 14th 2017 @ 10:39am
        Ben said | November 14th 2017 @ 10:39am | ! Report

        He should replace Renshaw or Wade.

      • Roar Guru

        November 14th 2017 @ 11:47am
        Scott Pryde said | November 14th 2017 @ 11:47am | ! Report

        I don’t want to keep harping on it, but Maxwell is a liability. Who knows what he is going to do. Cartwright also has medium pace bowling to offer – not that Australia use a fifth option much – but I think it’s a risk not going in with another pace bowler this summer, given the injury problems Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Patrick Cummins have faced recently.

        It’s a tight race no doubt. I can live with either.

        Probably half a chance that could happen to Bancroft. He has to be in the side one way or another though for mine.

        • Roar Guru

          November 14th 2017 @ 12:29pm
          JamesH said | November 14th 2017 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

          I didn’t see a liability in the India tests, Scott. I saw someone determined to work for his runs. Just like how Maxwell has shown over several Shield seasons that he has the ability to dig his side out of trouble. People are very quick to conflate his white ball antics with his ability in the longer format.

          On the other hand, picking someone as raw as Cartwright could be seen as a liability.

          • Roar Guru

            November 14th 2017 @ 12:31pm
            Scott Pryde said | November 14th 2017 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

            Point taken James.

          • November 14th 2017 @ 1:30pm
            Jameswm said | November 14th 2017 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

            Sometimes. He also often fails when coming in under pressure.

            I just think longer term over say 20 innings, Cartwright is likely to score more runs than Maxwell.

            • November 14th 2017 @ 2:40pm
              Perry Bridge said | November 14th 2017 @ 2:40pm | ! Report


              So far – Maxwell as a test cricketer ‘failing under pressure’ has been in India and Bangladesh in some very difficult home cooked ultra spin friendly conditions where most, no – ALL the Australian batters were very much tested.

              And where Nathan Lyon gets made to look like a dominating match winner!!

              This is my main sentiment – he deserves a crack at a homeland test match or two.

              Handscomb less so, but Renshaw certainly under pressure – but both are players that I feel have public support as the types we want to succeed in our test team. I do just feel Renshaw – like Matt Hayden once upon a time – might benefit from a period back out of the test team to further refine his game and then his second coming will be the better for it.

            • November 15th 2017 @ 7:42pm
              Doctor Rotcod said | November 15th 2017 @ 7:42pm | ! Report

              Cartwright didn’t make a lot this Shield game,or last.

              What has happened at the WACA? CA feed isn’t working After 876 runs from 207 overs,WA is 8/172 after 50 overs,S.Marsh 52
              Stoinis must be injured or something, he’s set to come in at 10

              • November 15th 2017 @ 9:43pm
                Don Freo said | November 15th 2017 @ 9:43pm | ! Report

                After 2 and a half days, the wicket has just started to jag around in some biggish cracks. There had been no LBWs and suddenly both Marshes, Cartwright and Turner have gone to LBWs where the ball has kept low. Have a look at the replays.

                I think, as the ball gets older, there might be more of that. 280 tomorrow should have SA chasing hard and there should be a result one way or the other. No Stoinis in the attack.

              • Roar Guru

                November 15th 2017 @ 10:22pm
                Rellum said | November 15th 2017 @ 10:22pm | ! Report

                Given what happened in the one day comp with a slightly difficult spot of the wicket, actual cracks might see the game called off on safety reasons.

                SA are in with a shot to win now though Don.

              • November 16th 2017 @ 12:26am
                Don Freo said | November 16th 2017 @ 12:26am | ! Report

                It’s more the keeping low than the jagging. Wayne Clark was just hoping aloud about that one.

    • November 14th 2017 @ 9:29am
      brye said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:29am | ! Report

      yeah some real shocking displays with the bat for a few yesterday. Bancroft def is in a purple patch, he does fit the criteria of a player who will be long term. Selectors do need to decide whether they want a batsman or wick/batter. Looking at the displays by S. Marsh, G. Maxwell & M. Wade, they have well and truly destroyed any slight chance of playing in the test squad. there are definitely alot of younger players across the country who will be blooded into the aust A test for a future for the test squad. My only other concern is our lack next spin bowler. If Lyon gets hurt, is there anyone who has the ability & confidence to take the big step?

      • November 14th 2017 @ 1:30pm
        Jameswm said | November 14th 2017 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

        Where is Ashton Agar?

        • November 14th 2017 @ 9:08pm
          Don Freo said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:08pm | ! Report

          Broken finger. Back for the Big Bash and onwards, hopefully. Likewise, Ashton Turner can’t bowl because of a shoulder injury.

    • November 14th 2017 @ 9:34am
      AGordon said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:34am | ! Report

      Scott, how many first class games, that is 4 days games, has Bancroft kept wicket? It’s helluva different keeping for 100 plus overs than it is to keep for 50 at most. Then you might have to do the same thing the next day,

      There is no way the Australian selectors should take a punt with this guy as keeper. Consider him for number 6, by all means, because his style of batting exactly fits the bill for that position, if we have Neville at 7 ( Wade’s simply batting too badly to be considered).

      If he is chosen for the first two Tests, Renshaw fails and either Maxwell or Cartwright make runs, move him to the top of the order and slot one of those guys in at 6.

      Bancroft should not be set up to fail by asking him to take on a task he’s never really tried. Let Neville do what he does best and give Bancroft a chance to cash in on his batting form.

      • Roar Rookie

        November 14th 2017 @ 10:18am
        Matthew Pearce said | November 14th 2017 @ 10:18am | ! Report

        Keeping ability still seems to be far too subjective to analyse objectively, no-one can agree on who’s the best.

        If Renshaw can’t make a score in our second innings, Bancroft to replace him, and either Nevill or Carey for the keeper. That way we’ve got a good backup who can still focus mainly on scoring runs.

      • Roar Guru

        November 14th 2017 @ 11:48am
        Scott Pryde said | November 14th 2017 @ 11:48am | ! Report

        I get where you’re coming from, but he has hardly done a bad job for WA last round or during the current one. At any rate, he isn’t going to do a job any worse than Wade, which was a point I tried to get across in the article.

        • November 14th 2017 @ 12:56pm
          Darren said | November 14th 2017 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

          Wade kept very well in the sub-continent. How would Bancroft have gone? None of us have any idea. If he comes in as keeper now it can’t be a stop gap it’s because they think he is the Australian keeper for all conditions. I can’t see how that can be supported and if I was any State keeper at the moment I’d be pretty miffed. His batting suggests he’d be a big chance to be selected in the top 6. I think the best option for him is to bat at 6, if he plays well and Renshaw continues his current bad form then he moves to open. Keeping could ruin his career at the highest level in my opinion.

          • November 14th 2017 @ 1:32pm
            Jameswm said | November 14th 2017 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

            Don’t rewrite history. Wade didn’t keep very well, he kept at almost acceptable standard. he still missed chances and let through heaps of byes.

            • November 14th 2017 @ 2:16pm
              Darren said | November 14th 2017 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

              I think you are rewriting history James. Wade kept well in the sub-continent. It was said at the time and I’m only restating it now. Every keeper misses chances and lets through byes in those conditions – Wade was no better or worse but was a helluva a lot better than most people thought he would be.
              I don’t think he should be in the team because his batting is woeful and I didn’t think he would keep well in India and Bangladesh, but he did.

              • Roar Guru

                November 14th 2017 @ 2:20pm
                Scott Pryde said | November 14th 2017 @ 2:20pm | ! Report


                Wade kept well in the sub-continent based on what he has dished up in the past. It still wasn’t up to scratch by any standards. Nor was his batting for that matter.

              • November 15th 2017 @ 2:05pm
                Don Freo said | November 15th 2017 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

                The advantage of Wade finally being dropped is that Adam Griffiths in Tasmania can finally pick the team he wants.

              • Roar Guru

                November 15th 2017 @ 10:23pm
                Rellum said | November 15th 2017 @ 10:23pm | ! Report

                It will be interesting to see if he is allowed to do that, or if Wade still gets to keep in case they drop the new guy. who ever that is.

      • November 14th 2017 @ 9:14pm
        Don Freo said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:14pm | ! Report

        A Gordon, why 4 day games? Is that because he has played in less of them and you think that makes a case? He has been on the field as a batsman or a keeper for 17 of the last 18 sessions of Shield cricket. He has kept for the last 2 seasons in 50 over ODD cricket. He also kept in many U19s games that spanned over a few days.

        He has stacks of experience and, if you doubt his ability to do that in a test, ask yourself who else in cricket history has been on the field for 17 of the last 18 sessions…that’s 34 of the last 36 hours of cricket.

    • November 14th 2017 @ 9:50am
      dan ced said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:50am | ! Report

      You cannot seriously pick a part time keeper for the Ashes.

      You pick the dude that broke the shield single season dismissal record, that’s actually a keeper. Alex Carey.

      Bancroft gets in if they decide to drop Renshaw (they probably should, given their comments putting heat on the first 3 shield rounds).

      The number 6 is still up in the air.. you don’t pick an all rounder if Smith refuses to bowl them. If they think Maxwell can be a pure bat then pick him. If not you put in Ferg for the experience (Cartwright’s pair last game would’ve spooked them).

      I think Maxwell has showed enough to keep his spot, even if my bias wants a Ferg/Lehmann in.

      Bancroft, Renshaw, Khawaja, Smith, Handscomb, Maxwell, Carey, Starc, Sayers, Hazelwood, Lyon (Cummins).

      • November 14th 2017 @ 10:57am
        AGordon said | November 14th 2017 @ 10:57am | ! Report

        no room for Warner?

        • November 14th 2017 @ 11:13am
          dan ced said | November 14th 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

          LOL Warner instead of Renshaw. My bad.

          • November 14th 2017 @ 9:17pm
            Don Freo said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:17pm | ! Report

            Sayers is bowling quite badly in the last few games, dan ced. Is he losing it?

            Perhaps the SAussie you should be plumping for is Jay Weatherald.

            • November 15th 2017 @ 12:06pm
              dan ced said | November 15th 2017 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

              Hasn’t looked terrible from what I’ve seen, just hasn’t been dominating with wickets. The only advantage he has on a Cummins is a difference in height, neither are getting bags of wickets in this early part of the season.

              Weatherald has impressed me in the little time he has been on the scene, I see a lot of Warner in him, the good parts of Warner πŸ˜›

              • November 15th 2017 @ 1:31pm
                Joe Bell said | November 15th 2017 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

                Thats what I reckon Dan ced hes so much like him as a junior. Still, I worry about his lack of feet and tendency to go at everything outside off. I can see him murdering attacks on flat wickets but maybe struggling overseas. Good thing is, Warner is starting to come good nearly everywhere so should be up and up for Weatherald here

      • November 14th 2017 @ 12:58pm
        Darren said | November 14th 2017 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

        SA supporter any chance dan ced? I live in Adelaide too but Sayers over Cummins I couldn’t support.
        Also I think Carey needs to wait a bit longer and show some more form batting at shield level. I’d go with Nevill.

        • November 15th 2017 @ 12:11pm
          dan ced said | November 15th 2017 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

          Yes, Redbacks bias in full swing, pardon the pun.. but Sayers and Cummins look equally as effective in the first few rounds. Sayers being a bit shorter I think would be good for variety.

      • November 14th 2017 @ 1:34pm
        Jameswm said | November 14th 2017 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

        Dan he’s not a part time keeper. He has been a keeper all career till Shield level, when Whiteman was ahead of him.

        If we’re 4 for 70, I’d much rather have Cartwright and Bancroft coming in than Maxie and Carey.

        • November 15th 2017 @ 12:10pm
          dan ced said | November 15th 2017 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

          Bancroft has his portfolio of runs score as an opener, that’s why I’d prefer him there. I think Carey is a much better keeper, although Bancroft is streets ahead of Handscomb with the gloves.

    • Roar Pro

      November 14th 2017 @ 9:57am
      mrrexdog said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:57am | ! Report

      If Renshaw can keep his spot following his recent poor form, surly 2 60s from Maxwell last week would be enough.

      • Roar Guru

        November 14th 2017 @ 11:49am
        Scott Pryde said | November 14th 2017 @ 11:49am | ! Report

        There’s no competition at the top of the order. That’s the problem.

        • November 14th 2017 @ 11:52am
          Brian said | November 14th 2017 @ 11:52am | ! Report

          Bancroft isn’t competition?

          • Roar Guru

            November 14th 2017 @ 11:59am
            Scott Pryde said | November 14th 2017 @ 11:59am | ! Report

            Fair point. I’ve got him at 7 though.

            • November 14th 2017 @ 12:59pm
              Darren said | November 14th 2017 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

              Which is where it all goes wrong. He needs to come into the top 6 – his form is as a batsman not keeper/batsman.

              • November 14th 2017 @ 1:35pm
                Jameswm said | November 14th 2017 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

                His form has been as a batsman while keeping. Not sure what your point is.

              • November 14th 2017 @ 2:18pm
                Darren said | November 14th 2017 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

                James I’m not going by his form in a couple of games. Bancroft has shown over a few seasons he is good enough and this year is reinforcing that. He has only kept one game – in WA – that is not form as a keeper/batsman. It’s also not form as a keeper to play for Australia. The decision would be truly bizarre.

              • November 14th 2017 @ 9:19pm
                Don Freo said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:19pm | ! Report

                Not true, Darren. Better check that one.

                It has been detailed, probably over 50 times in the past few days’ discussions.

    • November 14th 2017 @ 11:26am
      jamesb said | November 14th 2017 @ 11:26am | ! Report

      I like your side, but I would change Cartwright for Maxi. Even though in the long term, Hilton may be more beneficial, but for now, Maxi is the incumbent, and did get a couple of 60’s in the previous shield game, whilst the Hilton hasn’t exactly set the world on fire in the SS just yet.

      Bancroft does deserve a shot simply because he is in form. Again, for now, have him at seven as a wicketkeeper. In the long term, Bancroft should open the innings and hopefully some wicketkeeper batsman comes through like Whiteman, Inglis.

      As for Marcus Harris I am not so sure. He does like to attack and has a similar mindset to Warner. Would two aggressive batsman work at the top of the order? Plus Harris only averages 31. You’re better off bringing back Shaun Marsh.

      • Roar Guru

        November 14th 2017 @ 11:51am
        Scott Pryde said | November 14th 2017 @ 11:51am | ! Report

        Cheers James,

        Interesting question about Harris. I only really mentioned him because he has been scoring runs and there is quite literally no one putting their hand up to put Renshaw under pressure – although he is putting himself under enough pressure without assistance from others. Harris hasn’t been on my radar at all, and I doubt there is a chance he is selected for the first two Tests. If Renshaw continues to fail though and Harris continues to score… Who knows?

        • Roar Rookie

          November 14th 2017 @ 11:56am
          Matthew Pearce said | November 14th 2017 @ 11:56am | ! Report

          Disagree that there’s no-one else putting pressure on Renshaw – at this stage anyone who can make some good scores is doing that. Bancroft, Harris, Marsh and even Burns have all done so. No-one’s setting the world on fire but they’re still contributing substantially more than Renshaw – they need to be in consideration.

          Renshaw may keep his spot for the start of the Ashes, but if he continues his current form, those others have a good shot to push themselves into the side.

          • Roar Rookie

            November 14th 2017 @ 3:07pm
            Bunney said | November 14th 2017 @ 3:07pm | ! Report

            NSW out for 271. Now’s Renshaw’s chance to get into form. Great timing – 3rd day…perfect for batting

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