'There's no way': Healy likes Bancroft, but not as wicketkeeper

Wicketkeeping bolter Cameron Bancroft is confident he can perform well with the gloves if picked for the first Test but former Australian great Ian Healy has urged selectors not to give the job to the uncapped youngster.

The West Australian has emerged as a left-field candidate after a fine performance against a star-studded NSW team.

It would be one of the most extraordinary calls of recent times if selectors were to blood the 24-year-old at the Gabba in a role he describes as his secondary skill.

But with the incumbent Matthew Wade and main challengers Peter Nevill and Alex Carey yet to present a watertight case the position remains up for grabs heading into the final Test auditions.

Bancroft, an opener by trade, entered the Test picture by carrying his bat to make 76 in the first innings, followed by 86 in the second, against Australia's likely Test attack. Those scores are comfortably the highest of all the contenders.

While the job description for a wicketkeeper has changed thanks to the great Adam Gilchrist, there are some who believe there is now too great an emphasis on what a gloveman does with the bat. Bancroft's promotion, should it happen, would be the strongest evidence of that yet.

Healy, one of Australia's finest 'keepers, believes selectors would be sending a "horrible message" by giving the gloves to Bancroft, who has kept wicket only three times at first-class level but played once for the national Twenty20 side in that position.

"It's not on at all throwing someone like that into a new role plus the furnace of an Ashes, they wouldn't even entertain it," Healy said.

"There's no way I'd be putting gloves on someone who has done one game in however many years he's done."

Healy is a fan of Bancroft as a batsman, and says the opener deserves to be considered alongside the likes of Hilton Cartwright, Glenn Maxwell, Jake Lehmann and Shaun Marsh for the number six position.

Bancroft was picked for the cancelled tour of Bangladesh in 2015 and was overtaken by Joe Burns later that year for an opener's berth. An exceptional short-leg fielder, Bancroft is also hot on the heels of opener Matt Renshaw, who has endured a poor start to the season.

"I would love for my batting to be my number one skill I'm recognised for," Bancroft said. "I love making runs regardless of what role I'd be doing. I'll try to bat well first and foremost and wicketkeeping is a second string to my bow that I'm able to do and confident to do.

"It was something I always did growing up. If they asked me to do it 100 per cent I'd believe myself and back myself to do a really good job."

Healy believes Australia does not need to find another Gilchrist-like player, who can average 45.

"An average of 30 is fine, someone who can turn little moments here and there in games but not all the time," Healy said. ???"I think over the last two years we've had 20, we have to beef that position up a bit and get the security."

Further to providing handy runs in the lower order, Healy said, the successful candidate needs to be trustworthy with his glove work, not miss chances and provide "value to the team bubble" on and off the park.

He believes Nevill, who is believed to be the slight favourite, is a "safe bet" due to his experience but would also not be averse to Wade retaining the position despite his lean run with the bat.

This story 'There's no way': Healy likes Bancroft, but not as wicketkeeper first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.