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Bancroft returns to Aussie Ashes set-up after scandal

 

Cameron Bancroft
Cameron Bancroft

By Jonathan Veal

Cameron Bancroft has been named in Australia's Ashes squad, reuniting him with Steve Smith and David Warner for the first time since their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal.

The opening batsman was instrumental in the plot to cheat against South Africa in March of last year as he applied sandpaper to the ball in Cape Town - an idea that Warner came up with and then-captain Smith sanctioned.

All three were handed suspensions - Bancroft nine months and Smith and Warner 12 months - by Cricket Australia and are making their return to the Test arena for the first time since they expired.

Smith and Warner's inclusion in the group for the five-match series against England, which starts at Edgbaston next week, is no surprise given their involvement in the recent World Cup and standing in the game.

But Bancroft's selection is a result of some impressive recent form for Durham and an unbeaten 93 in an intra-squad warm-up game at the Ageas Bowl, where most other batsman failed.

National selector Trevor Hohns said: "David Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft have forced their way back into the Test squad through the excellence of their recent performances.

"David and Steve also have the advantage of being proven players at Test level while Cameron has produced impressive numbers for county side Durham this season.

"His innings in the intra-squad match in Southampton on a tough pitch was outstanding and showed his quality."

There are recalls for fast bowlers James Pattinson and Peter Siddle, while Josh Hazlewood is back in the squad following his recent back injury.

Batsman-wicketkeeper Matthew Wade is also named in the 17-man squad after two years away from the Test arena having scored a stack of recent runs, including a century against England Lions last week.

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