Off The Field

Ricky Ponting believes Cameron Bancroft frontrunner to replace David Warner as Australia Test opener

Written by Praveen CA

Ricky Ponting believes Cameron Bancroft is the perfect candidate to replace David Warner when the legendary Australian opener retires from Test cricket in January. Warner declared earlier this year that he will retire from the longest form of the game after the forthcoming SCG Test against Pakistan, and a slew of other openers are vying for his spot in the Australian team.

While Marcus Harris and Matthew Renshaw have been employed as reserve hitters in recent touring teams, Ponting believes Bancroft has pushed to the front of the queue due to some outstanding domestic form in Australia in recent years.

During the 2022/23 summer in Australia’s domestic Sheffield Shield competition, the 31-year-old struck four centuries and made more runs than any other player, and he is once again among the top run-scorers this season. While Bancroft hasn’t represented his country since 2019, Ponting believes the in-form right-hander will be granted another shot.

“If you look at those three guys, I think it’s quite clear that Bancroft is the one that’s got the runs on the board and I wouldn’t be surprised if they (selectors) go that way,” Ponting told Australian radio station SEN on Thursday.

“If you wind the clock back about six months it might have been a slightly different order than what it is now. I think they probably had Harris as the one that would come back in a while ago. To me now it sort of feels (there is) a bit more of a groundswell behind Cameron Bancroft getting first crack.”

Australia coach Andrew McDonald has suggested that the batting order be changed to open so that allrounder Cameron Green can return to the Test XI. However, Ponting has warned against such a move, stating Green should be required to earn his spot in the Shield with WA. However, only months after his maiden Test century, the prodigiously brilliant 24-year-old was dropped for Mitchell Marsh during the Ashes.

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Praveen CA