Cameron Bancroft betting on red-hot Sheffield Shield form to make the Ashes selection case

Having not been parachuted into Australia’s difficult tour of India, Cameron Bancroft is focusing on continuing his racing glut in the domestic season ahead of the Ashes.

The Australian selectors resisted the replacement of the injured David Warner by Bancroft, who is the Sheffield Shield’s top scorer with 767 runs at 63.91 with four centuries.

Bancroft has played 10 Tests between his lengthy ban for his part in the infamous ball-tampering saga, the last being during the 2019 UK Ashes.

With mid-level batsman Travis Head being backed up as the opener for the third Test at Indore, the 30-year-old Bancroft will have to bide his time as he makes his case to be part of Australia’s mid-year Ashes tour.

He admitted to having little dialogue with Australia’s hierarchy recently.

“Not much,” Bancroft told reporters in Perth just hours before the start of the Indore Test match. “(Australia top selector) George Bailey has been to some of our games and he’s obviously been floating around watching a lot of domestic cricket.”

But Bancroft understands what he needs to do to win the long-awaited Test recall.

“Just go out there and play well and do the best you can,” he said. “Obviously the test team is in India at the moment… what happens in the future with what I do there and in that space, I think it’s just being present and playing what’s in front of you now.

“That’s something I’m really focused on doing and I’m sure all the other stuff will work itself out.”

Having been overlooked by an India berth, Bancroft has been watching from afar Australia’s batting difficulties on revolving surfaces.

“It looks really challenging and obviously they’ve got some good quality spinners. I’m sure the guys are learning a lot there,” he said.

A few seasons ago, Bancroft’s career was in limbo, having been dropped from the Western Australia Shield team. It was a downfall for the die-hard batsman once touted as a future Test captain.

At the age of 22, he memorably batted for 13 hours and made a double century against New South Wales to evoke comparisons to his boyhood hero, Justin Langer.

Helped by some guidance from Langer, with whom he worked privately, Bancroft rediscovered his penchant for crushing players. He faced 1,694 deliveries in this season’s Shield – 543 more than next Dan Hughes.

Bancroft also revealed offensive talent that he displayed during Perth Scorchers’ BBL title defense, where he became a key player in the opener, having started the season abroad.

He is shaping up to be an attractive prospect for Australia across all formats, with Bancroft paying attention to his previous international experience.

“I like to think that over time you improve and learn lessons from your previous opportunities,” he said.

“I just try to keep that in mind, from the previous times I’ve played for Australia to how you go out and play in Shield cricket and in all forms for WA.

“If an opportunity arises, hopefully I’ll be in a better place to play well, but right now the focus is really on WA and we’ll see what happens in the future.”

Bancroft is eyeing a domestic title win with WA to host South Australia in the Marsh Cup 50-over final on March 8. They could also clinch a home Shield final for the second straight season with victory over Tasmania in the four one-day fixtures starting Thursday at the WACA.

Playmaker Mitchell Marsh has been named in the 13-man Shield squad as he continues his return from a three-month injury layoff ahead of the ODI tour of India next month, while Scorchers captain Ashton Turner is also in the frame to end a three-year near-exile from first-class cricket.

Tristan Lavalette is a Perth-based journalist

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