Magellan Ashes 2017-18
Rogers forecasts selection shake-up
Former Test opener says he wouldn't be surprised if Cameron Bancroft unseats Matthew Renshaw for the Ashes opener
Louis Cameron at AB Field
14 November 2017, 08:00 PM AEST
Cameron Bancroft has thrust himself into the squarely into the Ashes conversation after a marathon double-century, with former Australia opener Chris Rogers suggesting he wouldn't be surprised if selectors picked the uncapped Western Australian over Matthew Renshaw for the first Test.
Moments after Bancroft made an emphatic statement in the Warriors' JLT Sheffield Shield clash with South Australia in Perth by bringing up a double century on Tuesday, Renshaw's rotten run continued when he was strangled down the leg-side in his final chance to reassure national selectors ahead of next week's Magellan Ashes-opener.
The Queenslander has failed to pass 20 in each of his six innings for the Bulls this season after beginning the summer seemingly a near-certainty for the Test side, but Bancroft – unbeaten on 228 when WA declared their first innings at 7-514 on day two - has mounted what could prove an irresistible case.
And while Rogers stressed he wasn't advocating for Renshaw's axing 10 games into his fledgling Test career, he says it's a definite possibility.
"Renshaw has failed again today, that's thrown it up again and I think Cam Bancroft might even sneak in there," Rogers told SEN's The Run Home.
"If you're going to go into an Ashes series, you want to be playing well and that's why I wonder about what's going on with Renshaw.
"It's all good to back him and I've got a lot of faith in him that he'll do well.
"But to be out of form going into such a big series, that's going to be a really difficult thing to do.
"To play at the highest level, you've got to have experience behind you. You've got to know when the chips are down, how are you going to react?
"That's why there's a lot of questions marks over Renshaw."
Spectators at Allan Border Field – among them chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns – may have perceived Renshaw a little unfortunate in his two dismissals over the course of the first two days against NSW.
The left-hander stood his ground and was visibly dissatisfied after being adjudicated to have edged behind off seamer Trent Copeland on Monday, while he was caught behind again on Tuesday after a leg-side flick off during a hostile Doug Bollinger spell found Peter Nevill’s gloves again.
Regardless, Renshaw's 70 Shield runs at 11.66 so far this summer don't make for pretty reading and are dwarfed by Bancroft's tally of 425 runs at 141.66 through five innings.
But Queensland coach Wade Seccombe says Renshaw's demeanour hasn't changed at all despite his slump, praising his second-innings knock against Tasmania last week where he faced 109 balls and put on 82 for the first wicket in difficult circumstances to put the visitors on course for victory.
"He'd be disappointed that he hasn't got the runs on the board but form-wise, I think he's going ok," Seccombe told reporters after play on Tuesday, where Queensland are 5-129 holding a slender lead of 41.
"He's actually batted really well and batted time … the innings he played down in Hobart was in very tough conditions.
"He put on a partnership of 82 with Joe (Burns). From my end I was rapt with the way he's played. He hasn't got the runs on the board but he's got the time on the board.
"He is very positive around the dressing room, that's for sure. He doesn't really ride the ebbs and flows too much, he's pretty consistent in his behaviour.
"He's one of the fun guys – he's young, he's loud, he's boisterous around the dressing room and that hasn't changed through the good times and the bad times."
Bancroft, whose hopes of a Test debut were ripped away in 2015 when he was named to go on Australia's tour of Bangladesh before it was postponed, put himself back on the radar last week with knocks of 76 not out and 86 against a NSW attack boasting Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon.
The fact Bancroft did it in just his second full first-class match as a wicketkeeper made it all the more impressive, becoming the first gloveman to ever carry his bat in Shield history in WA's first dig.
With Ashes spots up for grabs, Cricket Australia team performance chief Pat Howard last month declared the selection panel "want the players to know there is pressure" in the three Shield rounds before the series.
And Rogers believes Bancroft has answered that call, adding that he could also slot into Australia's Test side down the order.
"I think if you openly say, 'look, here are three games to prove yourself' and one guy goes and blitzes it - and against the best bowlers in Australia last week as well - it's hard then to say to him, 'no you haven’t done enough'," Rogers continued.
"I'm kind of thinking they'll pick him (Bancroft). Where they'll bat him, who knows."
Although he's opened for his entire first-class career, Bancroft could conceivably be considered for the Test No.6 spot and – having last week said he's open to perform any role asked of him – the wicketkeeping berth.
While his return of five centuries and a batting average sitting above 40 through the two most recent completed Shield seasons would have kept him in the selectors' thoughts (if not at the forefronts of their minds) Bancroft's appetite for big runs even after reaching triple figures will surely have been noted.
Following his 351-ball, five-session knock against South Australia this week, he's now posted scores greater than 125 in eight of his 11 first-class hundreds and converted three of them into double-centuries.
Bancroft has also grown his cricketing resume with a couple of stints in the United Kingdom, playing 16 County Championship matches over the last past two seasons for Gloucestershire.
Fellow Perth-raised opener Rogers, who featured in 11 seasons of county cricket in an illustrious first-class career across two countries, believes that experience can only have helped him develop as a batsman.
"Bancroft is an interesting one, he's actually gone and played two seasons of county cricket, so he's played about 50 first-class games in the last two years," said Rogers.
"And has got a few runs behind him. It wouldn’t be the worst selection.
"I'm not advocating that he does (get included for the first Test), I'm still a little on the fence but it wouldn't surprise me if they did."
Rogers, an assistant coach for the Cricket Australia XI in their pre-Test series tour matches against England, meanwhile tipped Renshaw to bounce back if the axe did swing for the first Test.
"I've heard from people at the top at Cricket Australia who all understand that even the best young players get picked, they do alright and then they get dropped," he said. "And then they come back.
"(Renshaw) would probably be sitting there in the dressing room right now, he's just missed out, caught down the leg-side, probably bemoaning his luck thinking, 'what the hell is going on here, I might miss out on Aussie selection'.
"But in the end he's doing something for a living that most people would love to do. And he'll get back in at some stage, even if he is dropped - (although) I'm not saying he will be."
2017-18 International Fixtures:
Magellan Ashes Series
First Test Gabba, November 23-27. Buy tickets
Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Buy tickets
Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Buy tickets
Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Buy tickets
Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Buy tickets
Gillette ODI Series v England
First ODI MCG, January 14. Buy tickets
Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Buy tickets
Third ODI SCG, January 21. Buy tickets
Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Buy tickets
Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28. Join the ACF
Prime Minister's XI
PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Buy tickets
Gillette T20 INTL Series
First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Buy tickets
Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Buy tickets
Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Buy tickets
Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 13
Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16
Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18
Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21