OPINION: Poms wield axe, but should we?

ENGLAND has axed three members of the squad that lost the Ashes 4-0, but should Australia consider cutting Cameron Bancroft?

On December 1, I wrote that Bancroft could be our solution to the question of David Warner's partner atop the order.

After his epic, unbeaten 82-run innings to steer Australia to a 10-wicket win in the First Ashes Test at the Gabba, I was a believer.

Now, I'm not so sure.

He scored a combined 97 runs in the next six innings, an average of 15.33, and left Warner at the crease in five of those innings.

Bancroft contributed 26 runs in their highest opening partnership of 122 in the first innings of the Fourth Test. Their next best partnership was that Test's second innings (51), then the first innings of the Second Test (33 runs).

Two other partnerships were in the single figures.

I'm not a fan of chopping and changing a team, but Bancroft failed to prove he belongs in the Test arena.

That unforgettable Gabba innings is now an outlier in his eight-innings, 25.57 average, Test career.

Former opener Matt Renshaw, who failed to crack 50 in his previous 10 Test innings, looks like an attractive option judging purely from his previous numbers in Test cricket.

A look at his Sheffield Shield numbers, where has amassed just 150 runs in 10 innings for Queensland at 16.6, does not help his case.

Could Renshaw's opening partner Joe Burns, who has played 13 Tests but cracked double figures in just one of his past six Test innings, be the answer?

 

Joe Burns.
Joe Burns. Warren Lynam

Burns has smashed 514 runs in 10 innings, the third-highest in the Sheffield Shield, at an average of 57.11.

He has not played Test cricket since a November, 2016, shocker with the bat against South Africa, Australia's next opponents, but has he done enough to prove his case?

Burns is too good to refuse, provided the free- hitting Big Bash League doesn't hurt his prospects.



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