Sydney, Australia (BBN)-In the wake of Australia’s fourth-straight Ashes loss on foreign soil, the focus now begins on building a team capable of regaining the urn when England venture Down Under in 2017-18.
Captain Michael Clarke has announced The Oval will be his last Test and opening batsman Chris Rogers is expected to follow suit, leaving two positions in the batting order vacant, reports
An Ashes loss of the magnitude could claim the scalps of Australia’s other ageing players as Darren Lehmann and his fellow selectors look to freshen up his side that has underperformed with the bat in the four Tests to date.
Australia’s next tour is a two-Test series against Bangladesh in October, and preparations have begun with Australia A playing two four-day matches in India against India A.
Here are six batsmen who featured in that series that could come into the squad for Bangladesh.
Born two decades too late, Bancroft can bat time and accumulate runs in an old school fashion that predates his birth.
The right-handed opening bat would be a perfect foil for the explosive David Warner at the top of the order, much in same regard as outgoing opener Rogers.
In 11 Sheffield Shield games last summer Bancroft grinded 896 runs and three centuries, helping Western Australia to their second-consecutive Shield final appearance.
Bancroft batted more than 13 hours against NSW Blues in Perth in March, scoring 211 from 567 balls in a partnership with Michael Klinger of 324 that lasted 139 overs.
Bancroft recently posted 150 in Australia A’s impressive 10-wicket win over India A in Chennai in conditions that will mirror Australia’s next tour to Bangladesh.
Unveiled as Queensland’s new captain earlier this week, Khawaja has more recently been leading Australia A in India with aplomb.
The stylish left-hander is yet to lose a match on tour and has returned some impressive scores with the bat in his comeback from an ACL injury he suffered while with KFC Big Bash League outfit Sydney Thunder late last year. Khawaja made starts in each of his four innings in the two four-day matches, but has since scored 73 and 100 in Australia A’s two 50-over wins.
The 28-year-old was in scintillating form last summer before going down with injury, posting consecutive centuries for the Bulls in the Matador One-Day Cup to be in contention for the home Test series against India.
With nine Tests already under his belt, Khawaja knows what to expect at Test level and could slot in anywhere in the top six.
Burns didn’t put a foot wrong in his two Test appearances last summer, scoring two half-centuries at the Sydney Cricket Ground in his second match batting at No.6.
Blessed with a classical technique and sharp eye, Burns won his Baggy Green cap off the back of solid Sheffield Shield form with Queensland, eventually finishing the season with 793 runs at 52.86 and two hundreds.
The right-hander is another player who can slot in anywhere in the top order, providing the selectors the adaptability they crave when picking a batting unit.
Burns only managed eight in the four-day match for Australia A in Chennai, but has made amends with 63 not out and whirlwind 154 which included 14 sixes in the two 50-over matches.
The 25-year-old was unlucky to miss out for the joint West Indies/Ashes tour, and is right in contention to return to the national set-up.
Head is the second southpaw in this list alongside Khawaja, and like his Queensland counterpart is also the captain of his state side.
Head has been earmarked as a player of the future ever since he starred for Australia’s Under-19 team and debuted for the Rebacks at 18 years old in 2012.
Yet to post a first-class century, Head scored seven half-centuries last summer at 37.70 in a challenging year at the Adelaide Oval.
At 21, Head might be too young to be considered, but a second innings 50 in the four-day match shows he has the mettle, and also provides handy off-spin should he be needed.
Ferguson shot off to a cracking start in the Sheffield Shield in 2013-14, scoring three-centuries prior to Christmas to remind the selectors of the class and talent he possesses.
The upright right-hander was on the road to a Test berth after a sparkling start to his international career in the one-day format, averaging 41.43 from 30 matches with five fifties.
But a knee injury in the 2009 Champion’s Trophy final in South Africa ruled him out for the best part of 12 months to curtail his upward spiral into Baggy Green territory.
Since then Ferguson has returned to South Australia but has failed to recapture the form that won him an international call-up six years ago, until last season where he finished the Redback’s Shield campaign as their leading run-scorer with 836 runs at 52.25 and four centuries.
Handscomb’s star has continued to rise since making his first-class debut for Victoria in 2011.
Surrounded by domestic batting heavyweights such as David Hussey, Cameron White, Rob Quiney and Chris Rogers, Handscomb has developed his game to suit all formats.
Season 2014-15 was a breakout summer for the gifted right-hander, posting 647 runs at 53.91 with three centuries as Victoria won the Sheffield Shield title for the first time in five years.
Handscomb left a county stint with Gloucestershire to travel to India and play with Australia A, and in his first match scored 91 batting at No.4.
With 43 first-class matches under his belt Handscomb is compiling an impressive resume and is chance to feature in the creams for Australia in the short term.