Ricky Ponting insists Cameron Bancroft should be David Warner’s replacement once the veteran Australia opener bows out of Test cricket in January.
WA’s Bancroft is again the Sheffield Shield’s top run-scorer after smashing 945 runs – almost 300 more than the next best – last summer.
Despite the 31-year-old’s domestic success, Bancroft was still overlooked for Marcus Harris for a spare batting spot in Australia’s Ashes squad in June.
Harris and Queenslander Matt Renshaw loom as the other candidates at the top of the order to partner Usman Khawaja after Warner’s farewell at the SCG.
However, Ponting believes Bancroft needed to be recalled for his first Test since 2019 due to his sheer weight of runs.
“If you look at those three guys, I think it’s quite clear that Bancroft is the one that’s got the runs on the board and I wouldn’t be surprised if they (selectors) go that way,” the legendary former Australia captain told SEN on Thursday.
“If you wind the clock back about six months it might have been a slightly different order than what it is now.
“I think they probably had Harris as the one that would come back in a while ago.
“To me now it sort of feels (there’s) a bit more of a groundswell behind Cameron Bancroft getting first crack.”
Australia coach Andrew McDonald has floated the possibility of Marnus Labuschagne moving up from No.3 to open so allrounder Cameron Green can slot back into the Test XI.
But Ponting has cautioned against such a move, saying Green should be forced to earn his spot by finding form in the Shield with WA.
But the prodigiously talented 24-year-old was dropped during the Ashes, just months after his maiden Test century, for Mitchell Marsh.
“I think Cameron Green might just have to sit back and bide his time and wait for the opportunity to come back,” Ponting said.
“He can get a truckload of runs in Shield cricket and sort of force his way back into the side.
“Labuschagne has been outstanding at number three for Australia, it’s very much a specialist position.”
Ponting also believes enigmatic allrounder Glenn Maxwell should seriously be considered for a Test recall after his stunning white-ball success in India.
The Victorian played the last of his seven Tests in 2017, but his three recent international centuries, two in the ODI World Cup and one in a T20, have been irresistible.
“I could see him (Maxwell) getting back into a Test line-up because of the all-round game that he brings in those conditions,” Ponting said.
“The (201) not out in that game against Afghanistan, which is the most remarkable one-day innings I’ve ever seen.
“I’ve been around a lot of games, watched a lot of games, played a lot of games, I’ve never ever seen anything like that.”
Ponting, who captained Australia to World Cup titles in 2003 and 2007, has urged Pat Cummins’ team to maintain the rage in the Test summer when they host Pakistan and the struggling West Indies.
“I’d be saying to go as hard as you can and just really try and bury these teams and win as convincingly as you can,” Ponting said.