18 June, 2024
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Bancroft ruled out of Shield final after bike accident

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Western Australia captain Sam Whiteman says he’s shattered Cameron Bancroft will miss the Sheffield Shield final against Tasmania, but is thankful the star opener was not more seriously injured when he crashed his bike.

Bancroft has been ruled out of the decider, which starts on Thursday at the WACA Ground, after suffering a concussion from a cycling spill on Sunday.

The 31-year-old has been released from hospital and is recovering well, but his absence provides a huge blow to WA’s hopes of sealing a hat-trick of Shield titles.

Bancroft has plundered 778 runs this season at an average of 48.62, placing him behind only Tasmanian allrounder Beau Webster (914) for most runs scored this campaign.

The in-form opener joins Lance Morris (side strain) and Matt Kelly (pectoral) on the Warriors’ injured list, while Jhye Richardson, Mitch Marsh, Marcus Stoinis and Cameron Green will also miss the final due to their Indian Premier League (IPL) commitments.

 The loss of Bancroft is a huge blow to WA’s already depleted stocks for the Shield final. Image by Morgan Hancock/AAP PHOTOS 

“I’m gutted for him. He’s done lots of heavy lifting this year to get us into the final,” Whiteman said when asked about Bancroft at Perth’s Kings Park on Wednesday morning.

“It’s disappointing, but I’m glad he’s OK.

“He was riding by himself and came off his bike. To be honest, he’s pretty lucky it wasn’t much worse.

“He’s got plenty of scratches. Hopefully we’ll see him at the WACA this week.”

Teague Wyllie and Cooper Connolly have been added to WA’s extended squad, with a big decision to be made on how to replace Bancroft as opener.

Wyllie, No.3 Jayden Goodwin and white-ball star D’Arcy Short are the options to partner Whiteman at the top of the order.

With fit-again allrounder Aaron Hardie given the green light to bowl some overs, Connolly could be named for his Shield debut if selectors opt for an extra batter.

Hardie, who only recently recovered from a calf injury, played as a batter-only in WA’s final-round win over Victoria.

 Matthew Wade hopes to retire from first-class cricket as a Shield winner with Tasmania. Image by Ethan James/AAP PHOTOS 

Tasmania will be eager to send out Matthew Wade on a high, with the veteran to retire from first-class cricket following the Shield final.

Wade decided to skip the start of the IPL season so he could appear in the decider.

“It gives us a little bit of extra motivation,” Tasmania captain Jordan Silk said of Wade’s retirement.

“It’s also going to be a really sad time, playing our last game with him.

“He’s left such a legacy in terms of Tasmanian cricket. He’ll go down as one of our finest cricketers.

“It’s been on his list of things to tick off in his career, to win a Sheffield Shield for his home state Tasmania.

“He’s won multiple ones for Victoria, but I know this one would be the icing on the cake.”

Tasmania, who are aiming to win their first Shield title since 2012/13, will be boosted by the return of star paceman Riley Meredith.

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