After a successful Ashes series down under, Australia’s next assignment will be a challenging tour to South Africa. The Africans already have their tail up after demolishing the number one test side in the world, India and will be aiming to Test the Aussies in conditions away from home. However, to succeed in South Africa, one of the most important aspects is a successful opening combination. Openers seeing off the new ball is essential for teams visiting the rainbow nation so that batsmen following them find it easier to score runs. However, former Australian player Michael Hussey is concerned over the lack of options to open the batting should Cameron Bancroft fail. Hussey also went on to add that if Bancroft does fail then there will be several people calling for his head.
Cautioning against elevating Shaun Marsh, Hussey in an interview with The Unplayable Podcast said, “Guess Shaun Marsh can come up to open the innings, he has done that before but that wouldn’t be ideal. Shaun played so well batting at number five and six in the Ashes that I’d be reluctant to make that move. I’d be keen to keep him where he is, he just feels settled and comfortable playing that middle-order role which is really important.”
“Possibly they could make a change with Handscomb going to the top – I don’t think he’d mind, he’d just love to get an opportunity to play. I’m not sure what else they could do. They’ll just be hoping that Bancroft can do the job and get a few runs.”
Reflecting on Bancroft’s performance, Hussey said, “Bancroft found it tough at certain stages through the Ashes but looked good most of the time and he would have learned so much from playing in that series.”
“The experience that he would have got from playing in an Ashes series, a huge high, will hold him in good stead as long as he learns from those lessons. He’s a student of the game … he’ll continue to work really hard and it will be a challenge for him in South Africa. The pitches generally do a little bit more, so he’s certainly going to be under the pump over there.”
“If he doesn’t perform well in South Africa, I’m sure there’s going to be plenty of people saying that he needs to move out of the team,” he concluded.