Former Australian wicketkeeper Ian Healy has called on the Australian selectors not to pick Cameron Bancroft as the Test side’s keeper for the first Test.
Bancroft, who has kept wicket for Western Australia this season, is odds on to win a baggy green next week after a brilliant run of form to kick start the Sheffield Shield season, culminating in a score of 228 not out against South Australia this week.
However, Healy says the selectors should pick a full time keeper in the Test side and instead pick Bancroft to bat at No.6.
“I’d be very disappointed if Bancroft was the keeper,” Healy told Wide World of Sport on Wednesday.
“I think he should be given the number six batting spot, but someone who’s kept in three games out of 66 first class matches doesn’t deserve to be the Australian wicketkeeper.
“I think he can do the number six job, he’s made eleven first class centuries and that’s what we’re looking for, a quality top order batsman to slot in at number six and move up the order over time.”
While Bancroft is a handy wickeeper, Healy says he hopes selectors learn from past mistakes when picking the side, citing Australia’s experiment with part-time keeper Wayne Phillips behind the stumps in the mid 1980s as a huge failure.
“As a part timer it’s possible Bancroft could go the same way as (Wayne) Phillips. It wrecked the team in the 1980s, the bowlers weren’t getting the support from the keeper, they had no confidence that the keeper could do the job because Phillips had his hands full trying to do a job he wasn’t that familiar with.
“Phillips was a reluctant keeper, I’d say Bancroft is more willing than Phillips, but please, let’s learn from the mistakes we made with Phillips and respect the wicketkeeping fraternity.”
Of the full-time keepers on offer, Healy believes Peter Nevill should get the nod over Matthew Wade.
“I’ve got Nevill in my side, but I don’t mind Wade,” he said.
“If they want to give Wade another go because he showed some improvement on the subcontinent, which is a very tough tour, I don’t have a problem with giving Wade another chance in Australian conditions. But I just sense they might go with Nevill.”