ASHES: Is Cameron Bancroft the solution?
WHEN Cameron Bancroft was named ahead of Matt Renshaw for the first Ashes Test I rubbished the call.
Bancroft was scoring runs at will in the Sheffield Shield. An unbeaten 228 for West Australia against South Australia added weight to his argument. The fact he scored 417 runs in the four innings preceding the Ashes certainly helped.
But there was something about Renshaw I liked.
His slow, deliberate batting style was a stark contrast to the free-hitting, aggressive style fans have grown accustomed to in David Warner, who, despite some innings ending on terrible shot selections we give a free pass.
The right-hand/left-hand combination at the top of order ensured, at least in theory, opposition bowlers were on the back foot from the start. It's where they succeeded last year: Warner hammers home quick runs, Renshaw accumulates his total, and the natural rotation of strike and increasingly frustrated bowlers unravel themselves.
At least, that's theory.
When assessed beyond the ordinary Australian's romantic idea that Test cricket exists only during our summer months, it is clear Renshaw had to go.
His last score of note was a 263-ball 60 against India in March. He failed to reach double figures in four of the six Tests preceding the Ashes, and boasts an average of 36.64 - helped heavily by his unforgettable 184 against Pakistan in the New Year's Test.
I have long-held the opinion that selectors should opt for the player who is best in form, regardless of their reputation. In this case, Bancroft is the man.
His woeful first innings' haul of five runs was forgiven courtesy of his unbeaten 82 as he and Warner steered Australia to a 10-wicket win. If you consider the way he handled the Johnny Bairstow headbutt, we might have a new character.