Pat Cummins called Cameron Bancroft to clear air over Australian Test squad snub, sandpaper scandal

Australian captain Pat Cummins has reportedly moved to shut down any suggestions Cameron Bancroft’s controversial non-selection in Australia’s Test squad is linked to his role in and subsequent comments about the Sandpaper Scandal.

The decision to overlook Bancroft, 31, saw speculation run rife that the move was linked to comments he made in the wake of the infamous sandpaper scandal.

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But as the rumour mill ran wild, Cummins reportedly moved to shut down the suggestions by calling the batsmen to clear the air.

Head of national selectors George Bailey also emphatically denied the suggestions after talking to the media following the squad announcement.

“Categorically no (issue between players and Bancroft). And I’ve shared this with Cameron on a number of occasions,” he said. “It’s never been discussed, from the panel’s perspective, it’s purely a cricketing decision.”

He added: “There’s not a member of the team who would have an issue with Cam playing. We certainly don’t have an issue with it.

“I think a lot of people forget the fact that Cam’s actually played Test cricket since returning from the ban.

“It was a long time ago. We’ve all moved well past that. I’d be disappointed if people were looking to that as a reason … that’s not the case. Never has been and never will be.”

Despite talk being centred around a specialist opener being called into the team to replace the retiring David Warner, it was Steve Smith who was given the nod to become Australia’s new opener.

Bancroft missed out on a spot in the squad entirely with Matt Renshaw earning the final place with his batting versatility giving him the edge.

Ben Tippett, Bancroft’s manager, spoke after the team was announced and said the star batsmen was upset after being overlooked.

“He’s gone through a whole range of emotions,” Bancroft’s manager Ben Tippett told SEN’s Sportsday.

“Yesterday, he was really upset, disappointed is probably more the feeling. Today he might be a bit angry, but he’s such a positive bloke.”

The snub of the West Australian star left iconic figures from the state seeing red and believing there was more to the story than was being told.

Former WA and Australian all-rounder Tom Moody took to social media to blast the “oversight” of selectors in snubbing Bancroft.

“Selection is never an easy task but the oversight of Cameron Bancroft is shocking,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

“His first class numbers are so compelling against his peers it feels there is another agenda which I hope was communicated to him honestly!”

Former Australian Test captain Kim Hughes said that overlooking what Bancroft had achieved in the Sheffield Shield would send the wrong message to players in the first-class system.

“I think the other, and a very important thing is, you must reward those that are performing well, and our Sheffield Shield competition — yes it is not as strong as it used to be when he had our Test players playing in it — it is still the competition from which you can have a look and see who is playing well,” Hughes told The West Australian.

“I just think get Bancroft in there, it also sends a message to the Shield players that if you perform, you’ll get picked.

“You may as well go and play marbles — it would be just shattering.”

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