Former Test batsman Chris Rogers has suggested a “bat-off” between Cameron Bancroft and Joe Burns could determine who opens the batting for Australia in the four-Test tour of South Africa in March.
Both Rogers and Test great Mike Hussey said they would take Bancroft to South Africa, but Rogers says Western Australian’s dip in form this series where he’s averaged 25.57 in eight innings has opened the door for his spot in the team to be questioned.
“He's in my squad, I think though that Joe Burns is in the squad as well and there's going to be a little bit of a bat-off, maybe even in the nets, a pre-series warm-up game,” Rogers told Optus Sport’s Stumps show.
“The challenge is there for (Bancroft). I think he's allowed the selectors to maybe look elsewhere but I've still got a lot of time for him. I think there's a lot to like.”
Burns has been in impressive form this summer, scoring 514 runs in five JLT Sheffield Shield matches for Queensland, including an unbeaten 202 against South Australia in Cairns.
But Hussey has wholeheartedly backed Bancroft to retain his place and build on his experiences in the Test team this summer.
“The amount that he would have learned about international cricket and what's required to have success at this level, why would you just discard that straight away?” Hussey said.
“I think trust him on that, trust that he is a good player, he's shown that he's a good player in Shield cricket leading into this series, he's not going to lose that.
“The education he would have got from such a big series will hold him in good stead for the rest of his career.”
Bancroft was bowled through the gate for a seven-ball duck on Friday, a dismissal that has alarm bells ringing for former opener Rogers.
“The biggest skill you've got to have as an opening batsman is to own that area in front of your pad because that's where the best bowlers in the world are going to attack you consistently, so I think that's a little bit of an issue with him, with his technique,” Rogers said.
“He doesn't always come down straight to the ball he almost windscreen wipers it, he comes across the ball.
“That's a challenge for him but he's still quite young in the development of his own game, he's going to get better and better, it's a challenge when you first come into international cricket, you get found out, people are talking about your weaknesses.
“A lot to learn for him, a lot to like from him but he'll know that that's how people are going to attack him now.”
2017-18 International Fixtures
Magellan Ashes Series
Australia Test squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird.
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 Match drawn. Tickets
Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Scorecard
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