Have Aussies found answer to Ashes keeper conundrum?

The question around who Australia picks as wicketkeeper for the Ashes series may have been answered in the form of a historic knock from Cameron Bancroft.

 

Western Australia opener Cameron Bancroft set a Shield batting record for a wicketkeeper in an innings that should jog national selectors' memories of his abilities.

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Bancroft's defiant unbeaten 76 against a Test strength NSW attack at Sydney's Hurstville Oval on Monday represented the first time a wicketkeeper had carried his bat through an entire Shield innings.

It was also the highest score this season by a wicketkeeper in a Shield game.

All this came amid Mitchell Starc's history-making dual hat-tricks - the first time a bowler has ever achieved such a feat in Shield cricket.

Matthew Wade, Peter Nevill and Alex Carey are the front runners for the Test keeper's spot but all have failed to post a substantial score this season.

While he's a part-time stumper rather than a regular custodian, Bancroft did keep wicket in his one senior match for Australia in a 2016 T20 game.

Could Bancroft be Australia's next Test keeper? Pic: Supplied

He has had more opportunities to don the gloves this season because of an injury to Sam Whiteman.

Although picking Bancroft for the Ashes may seem risky or represent a left-field solution, the man himself is confident he could do the job for the Aussies.

"It's a role that I feel confident enough to do well in," Bancroft told AAP.

"I've just done it in the one-day tournament, so I've had plenty of practice under my belt.

"I enjoy keeping, you're always in the game.

"I love opening the batting at the same time. It's difficult to balance the two, but whatever the team needs."

Bancroft was on the verge of the Test team in 2015 when he was chosen in the squad to go to Bangladesh before that tour was cancelled.

Asked about his Test aspirations, Bancroft said: "I just keep scoring runs for Western Australia and you never know what can happen down the track; of course, that's a dream."

Bancroft doesn't possess the stunning attacking strokeplay of an Adam Gilchrist but he proved on Monday he could blunt the sharpest attack.

Watched by national selector Mark Waugh, he stood his ground against the likely Australian first Test attack of pacemen Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazelwood and spinner Nathan Lyon.

'They are just relentless, they are always at you, always asking questions every ball," Bancroft said.

"I knew it was going to be hard work to score runs, but it was a nice challenge."

His resolution was noted and praised by Starc, who polished off the WA innings by taking a hat-trick.

'He did a good job to sort of grind through the tough period," Starc said.

The question now for Aussie selectors will no doubt centre around whether batting ability or glove work is more important when it comes to picking the best keeper for the Ashes.

Bancroft could well be their left-field solution.

With AAP

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