Domain Test Series v Pakistan
Bancroft bolts from blue for unexpected Test recall
Having rated his chances of a call-up "highly unlikely" two days ago, the 10-Test opener was the surprise pick in Australia's squad to face Pakistan
14 November 2019, 04:38 PM AEST
There is perhaps nobody more surprised about Cameron Bancroft's Test selection than Cameron Bancroft.
The Western Australian was today named in Australia's 14-man squad for the two-match Domain series against Pakistan having only two days ago given himself next to no chance of getting the nod.
"Probably highly unlikely, I would have thought," Bancroft said when asked about his prospects of playing the first Test at the Gabba from next Thursday.
"But if you're not winning, you're learning, aren't you? I learned a lot today, had a lot of positive little wins out there with my batting.
"I walk away and keep being positive, keep looking to improve. That's all you can do."
Bancroft spoke after making 49 for Australia A in their dismal first innings of 122 against Pakistan, who blasted out the home side's top five for a combined total of just 40 runs.
The right-hander was not initially selected for the tour game but was a late call-up after Victoria's Nic Maddinson withdrew from the match for mental health reasons.
Bancroft played the first two Ashes Tests before being dropped for Marcus Harris – who missed Test selection today – and has battled form and technical issues this summer.
In his three Marsh Sheffield Shield matches this summer before facing Pakistan, Bancroft had managed 57 runs at 11.4 and was caught at leg-slip three times in a row, with sides seemingly aware he's prone to hitting the ball in the air through that region.
But in Bancroft, the selectors see a player who has what it takes to succeed at the highest level without taking his chances.
"He has the ingredients to be a very good Test player, he just has to put the performance on the board when he is given that opportunity," national selector Trevor Hohns said today, adding that Bancroft will likely be the back-up batsman in the squad.
"Everything else about him is the sort of thing that Justin Langer and the selection panel want from a player.
"He's the ideal person to have in our squad. He's a hard worker. He was left out in England after a couple of Test matches, but he's had the bit between his teeth, he's worked very, very hard on his game and the improvement in his game is quite noticeable."
In 18 Test innings, the 26-year-old has passed 50 three times for an average of 26.23 but is unlikely to add to those figures at the Gabba.
Bancroft was named as one of seven specialist batters in the 14-man squad, alongside Travis Head and Matthew Wade who are expected to occupy the two positions under Steve Smith at No.4.
Head's inclusion as vice-captain is a "fair indication" the left-hander will return to the Test XI after making way for allrounder Mitch Marsh for the final Test of the Ashes in September.
"Travis has immense experience as a young leader for his state," Hohns said.
"He's certainly back in the mix to play and we also like how he goes about his business around the team and the leadership skills he has to offer."
Domain Test Series v Pakistan
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner
Pakistan squad: Azhar Ali (c), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan Snr, Iftikhar Ahmed, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Musa Khan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah.
Warm-up match: v Australia A, November 11-13, Perth Stadium (d/n)
Warm-up match: v Cricket Australia XI, November 15-16, WACA Ground
First Test: November 21-25, Gabba (Seven, Fox & Kayo)