Waugh Goes Into Bat For Bancroft After Ashes Shocker
Steve Waugh says Cameron Bancroft, who has struggled in his first three knocks during the Ashes, should be backed 'for the long term' by Australia's selectors.
Having picked Cameron Bancroft at the start of this Ashes, Steve Waugh believes Australia should stick with him as David Warner's ideal opening partner "for the long term".
Waugh, on deck at Lord's as a mentor for Australia's Test squad following an invitation from coach Justin Langer, has no formal role in selection.
However, the much-respected great's opinion is held in the highest esteem by Langer and chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns.
Bancroft secured his Test recall with a match-winning knock of 93 not out during Australia's intra-squad match in Southampton.
But the opener has since produced scores of eight, seven and 13 against England, while he was out for 33 and seven in Australia's tour game against Worcestershire.
There have already been calls for Bancroft to be dumped but it won't be happening if Waugh has anything to do with it.
"Sometimes you are going to miss out. If you pick a guy, you back him for the long term," Waugh told reporters.
"Bancroft stayed in there for quite a while, did a good job for the team ... hung in there (while facing 66 deliveries at Lord's).
"He just needed to spend another half hour there, get a few more balls away out of the middle, and he would have been right."
Waugh, having described Bancroft as the best close-in fielder he's ever seen prior to the start of the series, was full of praise for the West Australian's work ethic.
"Cameron’s preparation for this Test was excellent. He looked really good in the nets," he said.
"He’s pretty relaxed at the moment. He’d like some more runs but I am backing him to do well.
"He’s a thoroughly professional cricketer. A nice, decent guy who works hard. "He’s dedicated and he’s disappointed he missed out, but ... he’s tough and he’ll come back."
David Warner has also had a poor start to the series, tallying 13 runs from three knocks, but Waugh also backed the former vice-captain to quickly find form.
"Warner looked really good last night. It was a pretty good delivery which got him, I don't think that’s too much cause for concern," Waugh said.
"They both want to get a lot more runs obviously, but Test match cricket is tough.
"We are confident those guys are going to bounce back."