Australian Test batting legend Ricky Ponting feels that Cameron Bancroft is leading the competition to replace David Warner and partner Usman Khawaja at the top of the order.

Following the forthcoming SCG Test against Pakistan, Warner indicated earlier this year that he intends to retire from the longest format of the game. A number of openers are vying for Warner’s spot in the Australian squad.

Despite the fact that Matthew Renshaw and Marcus Harris have been utilised as backup hitters on prior tours, Ponting believes Bancroft has risen to the top of the list due to some incredible results at the domestic level in Australia over the past several years.

In Australia’s domestic Sheffield Shield competition during the summer of 2022–2023, the 31-year-old achieved four centuries and amassed more runs than any other player. This season, he is again among the leading run scorers.

Bancroft hasn’t represented his nation since 2019, but Ponting anticipates that the potent right-hander will be given another opportunity at the international level.

On Thursday, Ponting said to Australian radio station SEN, “If you look at those three guys, I think it’s quite clear that Bancroft is the one that’s got the runs on the board and I wouldn’t be surprised if they (selectors) go that way.”

“The current arrangement might have been slightly different if you go back in time by around six months.

“I think they probably had Harris as the one that would come back in a while ago.”I now feel like there’s a little more of a groundswell in support of Cameron Bancroft receiving the first crack.”

Due to his outstanding recent performance in the Ashes and the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, Ponting also anticipates Mitch Marsh to stay in Australia’s first-choice Test XI, while fellow all-rounder Cameron Green will have to wait for his next opportunity.

“I think Cameron Green might just have to sit back and bide his time and wait for the opportunity to come back,” Ponting stated.

“He can get a truckload of runs in Shield cricket and sort of force his way back into the side.”For Australia, Labuschagne has been excellent at No. 3, which is a highly specialised position.”

Australia’s series against Pakistan starts on December 14 in Perth. Matches against the West Indies will be played at home in January, with matches in Melbourne and Sydney to follow.

After sharing the spoils with fierce rival England to retain the Ashes earlier this year, Australia is currently ranked third in the ICC World Test Championship rankings.

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