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Ponting's message to axed Renshaw

Former Australia captain shares some personal advice with sacked opener, a message echoed by current skipper Steve Smith

What do Sir Donald Bradman, Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke have in common? In the early stages of their careers they were all dropped. Axed. Sacked. Punted.

Whatever you call it, those batsmen would bounce back from being omitted to become legends of Australian cricket, and now Matthew Renshaw is following in those footsteps.

While it's obviously premature to call Renshaw a legend of the future, the 21-year-old, like those champions listed above, has felt the selectors axe for the first time after he was today dropped from Australia's Magellan Ashes Test team.

The left-hander was overlooked for the in-form Western Australian Cameron Bancroft, whose JLT Sheffield Shield-leading 442 runs at 111 made him an irresistible choice for the National Selection Panel.

By comparison, Renshaw managed just 70 runs in six Shield innings this summer, and doesn't begrudge the selectors for picking Bancroft in his place ahead of the iconic series.

"I'm pretty disappointed to be honest," Renshaw told News Corp. "The selectors called me. We had a chat. They said I simply didn't score enough runs, which is fair enough.

"I've been feeling good but I just haven't been getting runs on the board."

Ponting, perhaps Australia's greatest batsman since Bradman, knows exactly what Renshaw is going through.

The Tasmanian prodigy made his Test debut 11 days before his 21st birthday in December 1995, scoring 96 against Sri Lanka in Perth.

Less than a year later, he was dropped from the side. It took Ponting close to four years to cement his spot in Australia's all-powerful Test outfit. The rest is history.

Reflecting on his own memories of when he was axed, Ponting says Renshaw need not stress about recapturing his Test spot in the short term and instead regroup and refocus on what got him a Baggy Green last summer.


"The thing I learned most was not to be in too big a rush to get back there," Ponting told cricket.com.au.

"When you have a taste of Test cricket you don't ever want to let go of what that feeling is like and what it's all about to play Test matches for your country.

"When I first got dropped my whole mindset was 'I'll go back to Shield cricket, I'll make a hundred in this next game, I'll make a hundred in the game after that and before you know it I'll be back in the Test team.'

"Funnily enough, the harder you try to push something like that and the faster you make things happen the longer it takes.

"That was a lesson that I learned from it.

"Just go back to the basics, go back to Shield cricket, focus on some of the things he focused on before when he'd been successful and be patient. It'll come back for him, I'm sure."

The Ashes squad reveal press conference in full

Australia captain Steve Smith, another champion batsman who has been dropped before returning to conquer the world, spoke to Renshaw last night about his exclusion from the Ashes squad.

And like Ponting, Smith expects the Queenslander's form to continue after putting in the hard yards at domestic level.

"He was obviously disappointed to not be included in the squad, as you should be," Smith told reporters in Brisbane today. "You always want to be playing for Australia.

"For him it's about going back and just scoring as many runs as he can.

"I think he's an incredibly talented player and I think he's got a big future for Australia.

"He unfortunately hasn't been able to get the runs on the board that the selectors wanted in the JLT Cup and the first couple of Shield games.

"The Ashes isn't a place where you need to be trying to find your form."

Smith later elaborated on his conversation with Renshaw in a News Ltd column, writing: "It's how you respond to that disappointment which defines yourself as a cricketer, and that's the message I wanted to get across to Matt Renshaw when I called him on Thursday night after we learned he was not in the squad for the first two Ashes Tests.

I told Matt he's regarded as a very good young player, that he's a star in the making and he's going to have a very successful career for Australia.

"What I told him was that the sooner you get over it and the sooner you get back to doing what you do — which is scoring runs — the better it is going to be. You can't dwell on things for too long. Of course you're going to be disappointed initially but it's about trying to get over that as quickly as possible, and it's about using that as motivation."

Queensland's next Shield match starts in Perth on Friday, against the Western Warriors.


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

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.

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

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

T20 trans-Tasman Tri-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 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