Matt Renshaw replaces Cameron Bancroft at Somerset
What's the story?
Australia opener Matt Renshaw has taken the place of his fellow countryman Cameron Bancroft at Somerset for the upcoming County Championship season following the latter's suspension for ball-tampering in the Cape Town Test against South Africa last month. "I'm delighted to have the opportunity to play alongside some very experienced players and the exciting young talent that is coming through at Taunton," Renshaw told Somerset's website after his signing.
In case you didn't know..
Opening batsman Bancroft had been snapped by the county during the Ashes series between Australia and England down under during the summer of 2017-18. But after revelations of his role in ball-tampering became evident in the wake of cameras capturing him rubbing one side of the ball with sandpaper and his own confession in the subsequent press conference, the county had opted to pull out of their deal with Cricket Australia suspending Bancroft for nine months.
As a result, Renshaw had been urgently flown in for the final Test against South Africa at Johannesburg, just hours after he led Queensland to a Sheffield Shield win in the final against Tasmania. That game turned out to be Renshaw's first appearance for Australia after being dropped for the Ashes and being initially ignored for the South Africa tour.
The heart of the matter
In Queensland's successful campaign in the Shield in 2017-18, southpaw Renshaw was the tournament's highest run-getter with 804 at 44.67, with three hundreds and fifties each. Born in Yorkshire, Renshaw seemed thrilled at the opportunity which county cricket threw at him with a Test opener's slot in the national side all but up for grabs with David Warner also banned for a year. "I've heard a lot of good things about the club and I understand that I will be following in the footsteps of some outstanding Australian batsmen,” he said.
Renshaw will join the Somerset squad on April 13 and will remain with the club until the end of June, also being available for the Royal London One-Day Cup fixtures. He will then return to the team on August 19, with his stay scheduled until the rest of the season.
Somerset are a part of Division One with their opening game of the County Championship against Worcestershire on April 20. The side's subsequent fixtures in the Championship will be against Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Hampshire before actions shifts to fifty-over cricket.
Having taken the place of Bancroft in the Australian team, Renshaw taking the latter's place in county cricket was perhaps inevitable considering Bancroft's suspension as well as the potential of the 22-year-old himself, who has slammed a century and three half-centuries for Australia in 11 Tests so far. Moreover, if Renshaw remains in Australia's plans until the Ashes in England in 2019 arrives, this could turn out to be an ideal match practice for the conditions.