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Former Australia batsman Michael Hussey believes that opener Cameron Bancroft will face intense scrutiny if he fails to fire during the national team’s upcoming four-Test series in South Africa.
Bancroft made his debut in the first Ashes Test against England in November last year and featured in all five Tests of the series.
However, he failed to get the job done with the bat as he finished with 179 runs at an average of 25.57.
If he endures a similar series against the Proteas, Hussey admitted that the selectors may opt to replace him at the top of the order.
“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,” Hussey told The Unplayable Podcast as quoted by The Indian Express. “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.”
Should Bancroft not live up to expectations in South Africa, Hussey pointed out that Shaun Marsh or Peter Handscomb could take his spot as an opener.
However, if it comes down to it, Hussey admitted that he would rather see Handscomb open the batting.
“Guess Shaun Marsh can come up to open the innings, he has done that before but that wouldn’t be ideal,” he said. “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.”