Over the years Australian cricket selectors have copped plenty of criticism for some of their decisions.
In this Ashes series they dropped the incumbent gloveman, Matt Wade, after a few years of average glovework and poor work with the bat.
Instead of going with Peter Nevill, who has scored a mountain of runs in shield and considered by most good judges to be the best keeper in the country, they went with Tim Paine who hasn’t kept for his state in about two years.
But to me, the strangest decision was to drop Matt Renshaw for Cameron Bancroft.
I am going to get all statistical for a bit.
I know what you’re thinking. A clever statistician can make statistics say whatever he wants – but sometimes they help to paint a picture.
Renshaw made his debut against South Africa, in Australia and played three more tests against Pakistan – also in Australia. In those four tests, he scored 315 at a healthy average of 65.
He then headed to India for four tests against the best test nation of all. He managed 232 at 25.66, followed by two tests in Bangladesh, where he scored 76 at a not so healthy 19.
He has now scored 623 runs at an average of 36.65.
Renshaw was promptly dropped.
In comes Cameron Bancroft, who in four and a half tests has scored 179 runs at 25.57 – all in Australian conditions.
In Australia, under local conditions, Renshaw has scored 315 at 65, and Bancroft 179 at 25.57.
Probably the best way to compare the two is to look at how the other opening batsman went.
Dave Warner has been the opener in most games that Bancroft and Renshaw have played.
In the four tests in Australia, Warner scored 414 at 59.14, compared to Renshaw’s 315 at 65.
In the Ashes series, Warner has scored 441 at 63 to date, compared to Bancroft’s 179 at 25.57.
A very telling statistic is this.
Warner and Renshaw have played 19 innings, of which they opened together 17 times. Of those 17 innings, Warner was the first player dismissed 11 times, compared to Renshaw’s six.
In the eight innings that Warner and Bancroft have opened, in one innings, both players remained not out.
On six occasions, Bancroft was the first player dismissed, compared to Warner’s one.
I think it is time for the selectors to reconsider the opening partnership and give Renshaw another go.
And remember, there’s not such thing as too much sport.