Healy's Bancroft plea to selectors

Former Test 'keeper urges selectors to 'respect the wicketkeeping fraternity' and pick a full-time gloveman

Legendary Test gloveman Ian Healy has pleaded with national selectors to not repeat a mistake of the past by handing part-time wicketkeeper Cameron Bancroft the gloves for the first Magellan Ashes Test.

Selectors met on Wednesday to pick Australia's squad for the Gabba Test and Bancroft, fresh from an unbeaten 228 against South Australia this week, is sure to be discussed having made an irresistible case for a debut in recent weeks.

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As an opening batsman who has also kept in his past two games for Western Australia, Bancroft could conceivably play as an opener, a No.6 or a keeper-batsman at No.7.

But having taken the gloves in just three first-class games in his career, Healy said Bancroft "doesn’t deserve to be the Australian wicketkeeper" and should play as a specialist batsman instead.

"I’d be very disappointed if Bancroft was the keeper," Healy told Wide World of Sports. "I think he should be given the number six batting spot.

"Someone who's kept in three games out of 66 first-class matches doesn’t deserve to be the Australian wicketkeeper."

Healy pointed to the Wayne Phillips experiment Australia tried in the mid-1980s as a warning that putting a part-time gloveman behind the stumps can have a disastrous effect on the whole team.

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"(Making Phillips the keeper) wrecked the team in the 1980s," Healy said, adding the South Australian, who was given the gloves for 18 of his 27 Tests, was a "a reluctant keeper".

"The bowlers weren’t getting the support from the keeper, they had no confidence that the keeper could do the job because Phillips had his hands full trying to do a job he wasn’t that familiar with.

Wayne Phillips took the gloves for 18 Tests in the 1980s // Getty
Wayne Phillips took the gloves for 18 Tests in the 1980s // Getty

"Please, let’s learn from the mistakes we made with Phillips and respect the wicketkeeping fraternity."

Australia's current fielding coach and former Test keeper Brad Haddin said Bancroft's name could be mentioned as a keeping option, but added the Aussies should opt for the best-equipped gloveman to take on England.

"(Bancroft) has put his name up and got runs under pressure where he needed to,” Haddin told Melbourne’s SEN radio.

"I think his name could come up as maybe a No.6 batter and a keeper also. It will be interesting to see which way they go.

"I’m a traditionalist with this – I think first and foremost we should pick the best wicketkeeper and especially with the cartel of fast bowlers we’ve got at the moment and a world-class spinner in Nathan Lyon, we need the wicketkeeper to be taking all the chances."

The spotlight is on incumbent keeper Matthew Wade following a lean run with the bat in the opening rounds of the JLT Sheffield Shield, with New South Welshman Peter Nevill favoured to replace him should selectors opt for change.

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