Bancroft blow as star WA opener ruled out of Shield final

Sheffield Shield's most prolific batter over the past five seasons suffers concussion after falling from his bike

Bucket-hands Bancroft: All 29 catches of record-breaking season

Western Australia opener Cameron Bancroft will miss the Marsh Sheffield Shield final with concussion after falling from his bike and hitting his head.

Bancroft, a keen cyclist, suffered the injury while riding on Sunday. The right-hander has been the competition's most prolific batter over the past five seasons (3,061 runs at 42.51) and again finished the 2023-24 regular season as the Shield's second leading run-scorer (778 at 48.62) behind Tasmania's Beau Webster.

In a season dominated by seam bowlers, the loss of Bancroft is a huge blow for WA's chances of a Sheffield Shield three-peat and his opening union with skipper Sam Whiteman was a major factor in the state's surge to a third straight final.

The 31-year-old played a key role in helping put the two-time reigning champions into the decider with a gritty second-innings 58 against Victoria on an extremely bowler-friendly Junction Oval surface where only two other batters reached 50 for the match.

WA Shield final squad: Sam Whiteman (c), Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Cooper Connolly, Cameron Gannon, Jayden Goodwin, Aaron Hardie, Liam Haskett, Josh Inglis, Joel Paris, Corey Rocchiccioli, D'Arcy Short, Charlie Stobo, Teague Wyllie


Ins: Cooper Connolly, Teague Wyllie. Outs: Cameron Bancroft (concussion), Keaton Critchell (omitted)

Bancroft and Whiteman are the only two openers in the top 10 run-scorers for the season and they also recently became WA's most prolific opening pair, passing Geoff Marsh and Mike Veletta's benchmark of 3,470 runs in partnership to reach 3,567 runs in partnership.

It's the third year in a row an opening batter has been ruled out of the Shield decider leading up to the match with Victoria's Travis Dean injuring his shoulder during a fielding drill prior to last season's final after Marcus Harris tested positive to Covid 12 months earlier.

Two-time Shield winner Teague Wyllie and spin-bowling allrounder Cooper Connolly are in line to replace Bancroft having been added to WA's 14-player squad for the final against Tasmania beginning tomorrow at the WACA Ground.

Wyllie, who hit an unbeaten 43 at No.3 as WA clinched last season's title with a nine-wicket victory over Victoria, appears the most likely to come into the XI given his previous experience at the top of the order in red-ball cricket.

The 19-year-old has only managed one score above 25 in 10 innings this season and hasn't played for WA since their round seven loss to NSW at the WACA, edged out of the side by 22-year-old Jayden Goodwin who hit 115 against Queensland in round eight and 85 against Tasmania the game prior.

Wyllie returns to the squad after hitting two centuries in his last three innings for his club side Rockingham-Mandurah.

Connolly also slammed an unbeaten 189-ball 181 for his Premier Cricket club Scarborough against Fremantle earlier this month and was part of WA's Marsh One-Day Cup triumph over NSW in February, collecting 1-41 and scoring 11 in the final.

The 20-year-old would make his first-class debut if selected. Fellow left-hander D'Arcy Short, who batted at No.5 in WA's penultimate-round win over Queensland, is another option to partner Whiteman.

Alongside Bancroft, uncapped allrounder Keaton Critchell is the other omission from WA's squad for the final.

Star allrounder Aaron Hardie has recovered from a minor calf strain and been cleared to return to bowling after playing a specialist batter in last week's 138-run win over Victoria.

Victory would see WA become the first team in Australian cricketing history to win three consecutive Shield and One-Day Cup titles at the same time.

Tasmania are yet to name their squad for the final but are expected to welcome back speedster Riley Meredith who was rested from their round 10 loss to South Australia.

The Marsh Sheffield Shield final will be broadcast live on Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports, as well as live streamed free on cricket.com.au and the CA Live app.

Sheffield Shield 2023-24 standings

Matches played
No results
Batting Bonus
Bowling Bonus
Total points
1 Western Australia Men Western Australia Men WA 10 5 2 3 0 0 5.53 9.4 47.93
2 Tasmanian Tigers Men Tasmanian Tigers Men TAS 10 5 2 3 0 0 6.06 8.3 47.36
3 NSW Men NSW Men NSW 10 4 3 3 0 0 6.31 9 42.31
4 Victoria Men Victoria Men VIC 10 4 4 2 0 0 4.74 8.2 38.94
5 South Australia Men South Australia Men SA 10 3 6 1 0 0 5.19 9.3 33.49
6 Queensland Bulls Queensland Bulls QLD 10 2 6 2 0 0 3.54 8.3 25.84

M: Matches played

W: Wins

L: Losses

D: Drawn

N/R: No results

Ded.: Deductions

Bat: Batting Bonus

Bowl: Bowling Bonus

PTS: Total points