Matt Renshaw 'on another level' in latest epic statement ahead of Ashes

The opener has ramped up the pressure on David Warner with another masterclass ahead of the Ashes.

Aussie cricket star Matt Renshaw has put forward a strong case for Ashes selection after a superb run of form with the bat in 2023. Pic: Getty
Aussie cricket star Matt Renshaw has put forward a strong case for Ashes selection after a superb run of form with the bat in 2023. Pic: Getty

Matt Renshaw has put forward an irresistible case for Ashes selection after a second century for Australia A in the two-match tour of New Zealand. The classy Queensland opener failed to take his chances after earning a recall to Australia's Test cricket side during the recent series defeat in India.

However, Renshaw has been in scintillating form with the bat for Australia A in a New Zealand tour designed to replicate English conditions for the Ashes series later this year. The second match of the tour ended in a draw after New Zealand A abandoned their pursuit of a 374-run victory target needed to seal an unlikely win on Tuesday's final day.

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Australia A had declared their innings on 8-366 after Renshaw's second century of the two-match tour. The 27-year-old followed scores of 112 and 78 from the first game, with a commanding 140 to well and truly put his name in the conversation for Ashes selection.

With David Warner's form and well documented struggles in England - where he averages just 26.04 from 25 innings in the UK - Renshaw has emerged as a genuine possibility to replace the veteran opener at the top of the order for Australia. Apart from Warner's double century at the MCG against South Africa last year, the opener's most recent scores in Tests for Australia read 15, 10, 1, 10, 3, 0, 28, 21, 48, 5, 24, 5, 10* and 25.

Left-hander Renshaw failed in the middle order in all three innings of the tour of India, producing meagre scores of 0, 2 and 2. However, he has done all he can to prove he's Test-ready if a spot becomes available in England, at Warner's expense.

"He just killed it didn't he," Aussie spinner Mitchell Swepson said about Renshaw's performance in New Zealand. "Almost looked on another level in both games. He's just at the top of his game. He looks relaxed, knows what he does and has a plan, especially at the top of the order."

Australia A teammate Tim Ward added about Renshaw: “He’s just a cool head out there. He keeps it really simple, and it’s a lot of fun playing out there with him.”

Matt Renshaw's case for Ashes selection

Renshaw has already proven capable of batting in English conditions after enjoying a successful campaign with Somerset in the County Championship last year. The Queenslander scored 620 runs at 47.69 in eight matches, including two centuries.

He continued that impressive form in the Sheffield Shield after returning home, plundering 310 first-class runs at 51.66 for Queensland this summer. He also scored 81 and 101 not out for the Prime Minister’s XI against West Indies in Canberra last November.

National selectors rewarded Renshaw with a long-awaited Test recall, picked for the New Year’s Test against South Africa and the recent Border-Gavaskar Trophy — but he couldn’t make the most of those opportunities. Victoria’s Marcus Harris and Western Australia’s Cameron Bancroft are also mounting pressure on Warner ahead of the Ashes series, which gets under in June.

Seen here, Matt Renshaw looks on during day three of Australia's second Test against India in Delhi.
Matt Renshaw looks on during day three of Australia's second Test against India in Delhi. Pic: Getty (Pankaj Nangia via Getty Images)

However, Cricket Australia opted not to offer Renshaw a national contract when they announced their updated list last week, leading to suggestions he may not receive a plane ticket to England this winter. Travis Head - who deputised admirably in place of the injured Warner during the India Test series - could be seen as another option to open the batting for Australia in the Ashes.

After the Test series in India, Australian coach Andrew McDonald addressed Warner's future and said he's still firmly in their plans. "I think you work through that conversation, and how each player finishes is always different," the coach said. "Some want to go out in a certain way, and others are OK with potentially being dropped out of sides. But at the moment Dave's fully in our plans for the World Test Championship final."

Head's emergence as an opener has put major question marks on Warner's future, with doubts emerging over whether he'll force his way back into Australia's starting XI. The 36-year-old has indicated this will be his last year playing Test cricket, but says he's determined to help Australia win the Ashes before bowing out.

with AAP

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