Bancroft selected because of tough personality – national selector Hohns
Cameron Bancroft’s “hard-nosed” personality has earned him a place in Australia’s Ashes squad, national selector Trevor Hohns has said.
Bancroft has been named in a 17-man squad for the five-Test series against England and is reunited with Steve Smith and David Warner for the first time since their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal.
The opening batsman was instrumental in the plot to cheat against South Africa in March of last year as he applied sandpaper to the ball in Cape Town – an idea that Warner came up with and then-captain Smith sanctioned.
All three were handed suspensions – Bancroft nine months and Smith and Warner 12 months – by Cricket Australia and are making their return to the Test arena for the first time since they expired.
Smith and Warner’s inclusion in the group for the five-match series against England which starts at Edgbaston next week, is no surprise given their involvement in the recent World Cup and standing in the game.
But Bancroft’s selection is a result of some impressive recent form for Durham and an unbeaten 93 in an intra-squad warm-up game at the Ageas Bowl, where most other batsman failed.
Hohns said at the announcement of the squad in Southampton: “They are welcome back with open arms, there is no doubt about it.
“Steve Smith and David Warner are very good cricketers, world class players. It was natural we would include them now they are available again.
“Cameron Bancroft has had quite a good summer here playing country cricket and he played very well in the recent intra-squad game.
“Going back to South Africa he was also the leading runscorer before the action was taken against him.
“We were always thinking of him, but we needed to get our eyes on him.
“It was just playing county cricket, playing in the conditions over here. But he is the type of player we need in our Australian side, he is tough, he is enthusiastic, his work ethic is fantastic and he is infectious.
“We need people like that, people who want to improve their game and hard-nosed and tough and he fits the bill.”
He will go head-to-head with Marcus Harris for the second opening spot, but he is favourite to renew his partnership with Warner at the top of the order.
The pair scored 620 runs between them as Australia strolled to a 4-1 victory in the 2017-18 Ashes on home soil, but it was Warner’s plan in the Cape Town dressing rooms which put a halt on Bancroft’s blossoming Test career.
There are recalls for fast bowlers James Pattinson and Peter Siddle while Josh Hazlewood is back in the squad following his recent back injury.
Batsman-wicketkeeper Matthew Wade is also named in the 17-man squad after two years away from the Test arena, having scored a stack of recent runs, including a century against England Lions last week.
The Australian’s have not won the Ashes in this country since 2001 as England have dominated in home conditions after a generation of misery.
But their flimsy batting in the one-off Test against Ireland at Lord’s this week has shown they are vulnerable and Hohns hopes this will be the end of their 18-year drought.
“We know we haven’t won the Ashes in this country for some time, since 2001,” he added.
“But we believe the squad of players we have chosen can change that run and give a very good account of themselves here in England.”