Australia news – Pat Cummins reassures Cameron Bancroft, Marcus Harris over Test futures


Australia captain Pat Cummins has been in contact with Cameron Bancroft and Marcus Harris to reassure them that they remain firmly in Test consideration despite being overlooked following David Warner’s retirement.

With Steven Smith promoted to open, Cameron Green returning at No. 4 against West Indies in Adelaide, and Matt Renshaw selected as the reserve batter, the other two specialist openers remain on the outer.

Bancroft was the leading Sheffield Shield run-scorer last season and is in the same spot midway through the latest campaign, while Harris holds a central contract and was the reserve batter on the Ashes tour last year.

“Obviously private phone calls, but no real surprises,” Cummins said in Adelaide. “We love what they both are doing in first-class cricket. We love what they bring to any side they’re playing in. They’re doing all the right things. Unfortunately, they both just missed out on this one. So [the] message was ‘don’t change’.

“In international cricket, there’s always injuries or these guys [the incumbents] aren’t going to be around forever. Marcus and Cam are still relatively young, as is Renners. So once that opening comes up at some point, any one of them we’re confident can jump straight in and do a really good job.”

When Cummins was asked after the Sydney Test about replacing Warner, he appeared lukewarm to the idea of a batting-order reshuffle but has now said that once the option of Smith had been seriously considered, it made a lot of sense by allowing Green back at a more natural position for him.

“He can’t wait to get out there. Also think the new ball, maybe [there will be] a few more scoring options. It’s something that excites him”

Pat Cummins on Steven Smith

Smith has spoken of not enjoying the wait to bat from No. 4 and while he hasn’t specifically addressed whether the move will lengthen his Test career, he has committed to the shift not being a short-term solution. At training, Cummins has already noticed a difference.

“Seeing someone who’s basically achieved everything in the game get really excited for a new challenge, you’ve got to entertain that,” he said. “You can already see his mind whirring about how he’s maybe going to go about it a bit differently.

“I’ve never seen him as happy and as energetic as I’ve seen him around the nets the last couple of days. He can’t wait to get out there. Also think the new ball, maybe [there will be] a few more scoring options. It’s something that excites him. So that makes sense and getting Greeny a spot where we think he is set up to succeed.”

The retirement of Warner and Green’s return will also see a reshuffle in the cordon with Usman Khawaja taking up first slip, followed by Smith and Mitchell Marsh, with Green in the gully where he has already made a considerable impression with a string of spectacular catches.

Green also provides Cummins with another frontline bowling option, meaning he effectively has a six-man attack plus the offspin of Travis Head.

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