Australia v West Indies; Cameron Bancroft misses out on Test recall

Former Australian coach Justin Langer has slammed the non-selection of Cameron Bancroft for the Test series against the West Indies after selectors opted against calling on a specialist opener to replace David Warner.

West Australian opener Bancroft, the leading run-scorer in the Sheffield Shield for the past two seasons, as well as Victorian opener Marcus Harris, who was given a Cricket Australia contract and loomed as the man most likely to fill the Warner void, were both overlooked.

Steve Smith was confirmed as the new opener by selection chief George Bailey who said it was “an itch” the 34-year-old batting star wanted to scratch and it could be longer term solution than first thought.

“Tongue in cheek I could say everything’s an experiment. That’s been part of the discussions with Steve, I believe he’s keen for this to be a significant chapter of his career,” Bailey said.

“We don’t look too far ahead… (but) for all intents and purposes this is where Steve wants to stay.

“It’s a challenge for him, it’s something he’s motivated to do and thinks he can do.For someone to achieved as much as he has … it’s an itch he’d like to scratch. Ultimately for us as a team it’s something it fits. It’s selfless that someone who’s had such success in the middle order is open and willing to have a crack at something different.”

Cameron Green will slot in to Smith’s position at number four with Matthew Renshaw included as a reserve batter.

Langer, who coached Bancroft at WA as well as during his time in charge of the national team, said the opener would be “gutted” and that his numbers gave him an “undeniable” claim on the spot.

“The non-selection of Cameron Bancroft for this next test match against the West Indies is disappointing. He will be gutted,” Langer wrote for The West Australian.

“The mantra for all selectors is to tell aspiring players to score runs, take wickets, knock down the door. Be so good we can’t ignore you. Bancroft was given this message. All players are. He has taken the advice.

“His numbers are outstanding. Not only has he made a lot of runs, but his fielding in the slips or at bat pad is as good as any player in the country. A lot of good judges have pointed to his weight of runs, they are undeniable.

“Critics might point to his weaknesses of days gone by. Every player who is any good, gets dropped, looks for feedback and then goes away and gets better. Bancroft has ticked this box as well.”

Langer dismissed any suggestion of lingering tensions over Bancroft role in the sandpaper scandal of 2018, and subsequent suggestions that many players, including the bowlers, knew what was going on.

Bancroft served a nine-month ban but was recalled to the Test team for the 2019 Ashes, playing the opening two matches before being dropped, beginning his now five-year exile from the team.

“Others might point to his past, and a vast error of Judgement in South Africa. He, like no other, knows the mistake he made. He has taken major steps forward, just as Steve Smith and David Warner did after their suspensions. Hopefully he has been forgiven for that,” Langer wrote.

“Form can’t be the issue. Timing isn’t either. David Warner has just retired. Cameron Bancroft will feel disappointed, as will Marcus Harris who has been next in line for some time.”

Fast bowler Scott Boland was also included with he and Renshaw to join the squad after playing Big Bash for the Melbourne Stars and Brisbane Heat respectively over the weekend.

AUSTRALIAN TEST SQUAD TO PLAY THE WEST INDIES.

Pat Cummins, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc

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