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Bancroft not buying into selection debate

The Australia opener admits he has more to worry about than his place in the national side

Cameron Bancroft will learn in coming weeks whether his initial stint as a Test opener has been sufficiently successful to earn him a place in the Australia touring party heading to South Africa next month.

But until such time as that squad, likely to number 15 and to be announced shortly before they depart in late February, is finalised the 25-year-old won’t waste time and energy dwelling on whether he’s put sufficient runs on the board to retain his place.

And that absence of introspection applies to the final Magellan Ashes Test against England that begins at the SCG on Thursday, which Bancroft enters free of concerns about his inability to convert starts into scores for much of his maiden Test summer.

The right-hander has scored 179 from his seven Test innings to date, at an average of 29.83 and with a solitary half-century which came as he and opening partner David Warner chased down the 173 Australia needed to secure a 10-wicket win in the opening Ashes match at the Gabba.

Matthew Renshaw, the man who Bancroft replaced at the top of the order for the current Test summer, was averaging more than 36 with three half-centuries and a career-high 184 in the corresponding SCG Test a year ago when he was culled due to his indifferent domestic season form.

However, Bancroft has adopted a philosophical stance in conceding that, regardless of his productivity in the final Test of a series that Australia has already secured, the issue of selection remains beyond his control.

“I think there’s other people out there in the world who can do all that worrying for me,” Bancroft said today prior to Australia’s last full training session of the Test summer.

WATCH: Hussey wants selectors to stick with Bancroft

“Life is too short to worry about the ifs and buts, causes and effects and every time I go out to bat I’m looking to enjoy myself and enjoy batting and making runs. 

“That’s the only thing that matters to me and regardless of what’s happened in the past, right here in this present moment this is what I want to do and do really well.

“I know if I can do that I’ll make a lot of runs and have a lot of fun doing it too.”

In addition to learning quickly about the increased pressure and accountability that comes with opening the batting for your country at the highest level, Bancroft has also seen first-hand the level of scrutiny that is applied to rookie Test cricketers.

Not only from opposition bowlers and their strategy advisors who home in on any hint of vulnerability, but from commentators and critics who delight in dissecting a technique that – prior to reaching international level – has clearly proved successful.

Bancroft is renowned throughout Australian cricket for his work ethic and his drive to improve, and during the Melbourne Test his opening partner Warner revealed how the pair chat regularly about the bowling plans England have been using to target the Test new boy.

WATCH: Half century on debut for Bancroft

And while the hard-nosed Western Australian is always looking to improve his game and eradicate any flaws that are exposed, he also maintains strong faith in the skills that have carried him to Test ranks and his capacity to perform consistently on that stage.

“Playing at this level it’s all about confidence and all about belief,” Bancroft said today.

“The only way you can do that is by action. 

“Life rewards action and every day I wake up and come to training, come to Test matches to play, I’m learning more about Cameron Bancroft. 

“I’m becoming a better player and becoming closer to the player I want to be and I think right now I’m very confident with what I’m doing. 

“I’m doing a lot of good things and life is too short to sit back and worry about all the petty things and I’m certainly going to remain positive and look forward to what I can control.”

2017-18 International Fixtures

Magellan Ashes Series

Australia Test squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird, Ashton Agar.

England Test squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson (vc), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes.

First Test Australia won by 10 wickets. Scorecard

Second Test Australia won by 120 runs (Day-Night). Scorecard

Third Test Australia won by an innings and 41 runs. Scorecard

Fourth Test MCG, drawn. Scorecard

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Tickets

Gillette ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets

Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets

Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21