Bancroft leaves comeback decision to greater powers

Back in action in the Sheffield Shield for Western Australia after a nine-month ban for ball-tampering, Cameron Bancroft returned with handsome scores of 138 not out and 86.

Cameron Bancroft insists it is too early to be thinking about playing for Australia in the Ashes this year.   -  Getty Images

 

Cameron Bancroft insists it is too early to be thinking about playing for Australia in the Ashes this year despite his exploits on his return to red-ball cricket.

The 26-year-old, back in the domestic Sheffield Shield after a nine-month ban for ball-tampering, patiently compiled 138 not out from a marathon 358 balls and then 86 off 263 deliveries in his second dig for Western Australia.

It wasn’t enough to prevent his team losing to New South Wales this week, but it was a stunning effort of concentration that put him firmly back on the radar of selectors.

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“I’ve played one game. You don’t earn the right after one game, to achieve a feat like playing Test cricket,” Bancroft said, according to the Cricket Australia website.

“I feel like I still have plenty of work to do. But it’s really awesome to be back playing for WA in Shield cricket, and I’m loving it so far.”

With the Ashes series against England starting in August, one of the opening batsmen’s spots is on the line with a handful of upcoming Shield games seen as crucial to the prospects of those in contention.

Regular opener David Warner, who has 21 Test centuries, is widely expected to resume his role at the top of the order when his ball-tampering ban expires late next month, but his partner is as yet unknown.

Since Warner, Bancroft and then-skipper Steve Smith were suspended over the scandal in South Africa almost a year ago, Australia have tried a series of openers with varying success, including Aaron Finch, Matt Renshaw, Marcus Harris, and Joe Burns.

Harris (95 and 174) and Burns (60 and 80) were also in the runs in the Sheffield Shield this week.

Renshaw managed 29 and 47 while Finch is in India captaining Australia’s one-day and Twenty20 sides.

Bancroft, Warner’s partner before their ban, said he was only focusing on himself, and not what the likes of Burns and Harris were doing.

“The intention of why I’m playing and rocking up to prepare is because of course I’d love to play for Australia again one day,” he said. “Whenever that is, I’ll leave that to a power greater than myself.”