Bancroft's Australia return would be a great story, says Langer

By Sports Desk July 30, 2019

Cameron Bancroft's return to the Australia line-up for the opening Ashes Test against England would be a great story, according to Justin Langer.

Bancroft has been named in Australia's squad for the match at Edgbaston on Thursday, his first international involvement since serving a nine-month suspension for his role in the ball-tampering incident in Cape Town in March 2018.

David Warner and Steve Smith were also banned from all forms for 12 months but returned to help Australia to the Cricket World Cup semi-finals.

Langer confirmed on Tuesday Warner will be fit to feature in Birmingham despite suffering a bruised thigh in Monday's training session.

It is not yet clear who will partner Australia's former vice-captain at the top of the order, but Langer is delighted to have Bancroft, who scored an impressive unbeaten 93 in an intra-squad warm-up at the Rose Bowl last week, back in the fold.

"He's close. He's very close," Langer told a news conference. "He's one of two openers we could pick I reckon.

"It'd be a great story. If he comes back in the team it'll be a really great story, from where he's come from.

"I think his learnings over the last 14 months – he's gone away and played really good [Sheffield] Shield cricket, he's averaged 57 or 58 at the back end of the Shield season.

"He's averaged 40-odd for Durham, he played really well last week, he brings energy to the team.

"His development over the last 12 months after what happened in Cape Town has been absolutely extraordinary. We're that proud of him so if he gets the nod he'll be very excited about playing for Australia again."

Smith and Warner received hostile receptions from the English crowd at the World Cup, and though Langer is not expecting Bancroft to get a warm welcome, he believes it is nothing out of the ordinary heading into an Ashes series.

"I know what the reception is going to be, I think we all do," Langer continued. 

"There's nothing we can do about that, it's 100 per cent out of our control, it's out of their control and there's nothing we can do about it.

"We've been to lots of Ashes series, and England are the same when they come to Australia, it's really tough. That's the environment we're in.

"You go to Cape Town, go to Johannesburg – it's like being in the Gladiator movie!"

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