Harris was the reserve opener for the recent UK tour but did not play a game as the under-pressure Warner retained his place for all six Tests, including the World Test Championship final against India and the five-Test Ashes series that followed. Australia do not play Test cricket again until the first Test against Pakistan in Perth starting on December 14.
That opens the door for Bancroft who has been third in the queue of potential Test openers and has not been involved in a national squad since he was dropped from the Test side during the 2019 Ashes series.
Bancroft has been prolific in Sheffield Shield cricket over the last 18 months. Since January 2022 he has made 1380 runs in 32 innings at 49.28 with six centuries. One of those came in the first innings of the 2021-22 Sheffield Shield final which helped WA secure the title.
“I think, results wise, he’s been outstanding over the last 12 months,” Voges told ESPNcricinfo. “I think technically he’s going as well as he has done and he’s got confidence in the way that he’s playing at the moment. I think he’s really settled in his game plan, the way that he’s tried to approach each innings and we saw that consistency last year in his run-scoring output.
“This is just another opportunity for him along with six Shield games before the Test summer to continue to pile on the runs and really put pressure on the selectors to get him at the front of the queue when the opportunity does present. So that’s his challenge over the next little bit but what a great opportunity to try and kick start things off next month.”
Bancroft’s technical improvements have come on the back of a power of work with both WA’s batting coach Beau Casson and former Australia and WA coach Justin Langer. Bancroft reached out to Langer after Langer had left the Australia coaching job in early 2022 and the pair did some one-on-one work privately to supplement his work with Casson.
“I don’t they’re massive changes,” Voges said. “But he looks as balanced at the crease as he has done and that’s the great work that Beau’s done with him. He’s worked with JL as well in the background and I think both of them together have come up with a more balanced and complete version of what we’ve seen of Cam at the moment.
“But ultimately, his absolute strength is that ability to bat for long periods of time. That concentration to be able to do it for longer is something that he’s always had. And I think that’s a strength that he’s certainly drawn on over the last 12 months. He’s been able to navigate some difficult periods, particularly opening the batting at the WACA ground but equally when he’s got himself in he’s been able to really apply some pressure to opposition attacks as well and that’s been pleasing to see.”
Warner gave Renshaw a strong endorsement to be his successor at the top of the order but Australia may need a second Test opener not long given Usman Khawaja is also set to turn 37 during Australia’s next Test match on December 18.
Harris has been the long-time understudy ever since he was omitted from the XI during the 2021-22 home Ashes series following Khawaja’s triumphant return to Test cricket. Harris remains highly regarded by Australia’s selectors as a long-term successor for either Warner or Khawaja.
Harris and Bancroft both missed the last Australia A series in New Zealand during April to play county cricket in England, at the behest of Australia’s selection panel. Renshaw made scores of 112, 78, 2 and 140 against New Zealand A on that tour having made a return to the Test side in Sydney earlier in the year before playing once on the tour of India.
Renshaw was included in the Ashes squad but omitted as surplus to requirements following the second Test at Lord’s. He been named in Australia A squad but is set to only play the 50-over games
Harris spent four months in England with Gloucestershire and the Australia squad straight off the back of last domestic summer where he mixed touring with Australia’s Test side with his state duties for Victoria. The selectors decided to give Harris time to rest at home in Melbourne before the start of the domestic summer.
Australia A four-day squad Wes Agar, Cameron Bancroft, Jordan Buckingham, Ben Dwarshuis, Caleb Jewell, Campbell Kellaway, Matthew Kelly, Matthew Kuhnemann, Nathan McAndrew, Nathan McSweeney, Joel Paris, Jimmy Peirson, Mitch Perry, Josh Philippe, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson, Tim Ward
Australia A one-day squad Wes Agar, Ollie Davies, Ben Dwarshuis, Liam Hatcher, Matthew Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne, Ben McDermott, Todd Murphy, Josh Philippe, Matthew Renshaw, Gurinder Sandhu, Matt Short, Mark Steketee, Will Sutherland, Ashton Turner
Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo