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"He could be a very successful player": Ashes debutant a man on a mission

Cricket

Cameron Bancroft is an intense perfectionist, be it running laps or singles, putting a high price on his wicket or a bad ball away for four.

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Bancroft will make his Test debut tomorrow, joining a privileged group to achieve the feat against England. 

Driven is how Justin Langer, Adam Voges and Mike Hussey describe a fellow West Australian they’ve all helped develop to differing degrees.

Bancroft, a big believer in the power of meditation who shares Steve Smith’s fanatical love of cricket, is his own harshest critic.

Perhaps the best example is his maiden Sheffield Shield double-ton that helped WA seal their place in the 2015 final.

The 25-year-old and Michael Klinger batted together for 139 overs in a record-breaking stand.

Peter Nevill bowled the only over of his first-class career, so resolute was Bancroft’s resistance.

The score of 211 was a knock that earned widespread acclaim and essentially a ticket to Bangladesh, only for that tour to be cancelled because of safety concerns.

“I remember how disappointed he was to get out,” former WA skipper Voges says.

“Most blokes would be pretty satisfied to walk off with 200-odd next to their name. He was quite upset.

“That’s the drive and hunger he has to bat for long periods of time and score big runs.”

That mindset led to Bancroft recently carrying his bat against NSW, boasting the Test attack, then scoring 228no against South Australia.

He also applies similarly high standards to fielding under the lid.

“Some balls were hammered at him and bounced off. We’d all be quite happy he stopped it, he was disappointed he didn’t catch it,” Voges recalls.

Idol-turned-mentor Langer calls the opener a “rare unit”.

One notable example came at 6.30am on the morning of a day-night tour game in Canberra, where the restless right-hander was desperate to impress shortly after his Bangladesh heartbreak.

Bancroft sent a few text messages around, asking if anybody was available to feed him some balls in the nets.

All the coaches were sleeping but a member of support staff eventually helped out.

“In the past he’s probably been a little bit too intense and perhaps put too much pressure on himself. I can sort of relate to it,” admits Hussey, having coached Bancroft in an Australia A series last year.

“The more you want it, sometimes the worse you play but he seems a bit more relaxed now… he could be a very successful player.”

-AAP

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