Bancroft, Neser get special release to push Test case
The only problem being next cab off the rank is you don't get many chances to keep the meter ticking over.
Cameron Bancroft and Michael Neser will be released from the Australian camp on Tuesday to play for Western Australia and Queensland respectively in the one-day Cup final in Brisbane.
It's precious match practice for two men otherwise stuck in the twilight zone of Australian Test selection.
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As part of the Australian squad, Bancroft and Neser are on standby to play, but the catch 22 is it's difficult to stay in form while carrying drinks.
In recent years spare batsmen and bowlers would usually be released to play Sheffield Shield cricket if not selected in the Test XI.
But in the new age of concussion substitutes, the fresh reserves are bound to stay with the Australian team for the duration of Test matches in case a mishap occurs and they're thrust into the action.
It means Bancroft will miss the Sheffield Shield round starting on Friday, while others like Usman Khawaja and Marcus Harris get a chance to put runs and wickets on the board.
Interestingly, coach Justin Langer indicated Khawaja was too experienced to be in a squad but not playing, and was better off playing for Queensland as he fights to knock the selection door back down.
Neser is likely to also miss the Shield game starting Friday, although James Pattinson is coming back into the squad for Adelaide so one of those two men - if not selected - may get the chance to get some bowling for their State, like other rivals Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith.
Peter Siddle discovered the perils of no-man's land last summer when he was 12th man for every match, only for Richardson - who had been playing - to get the nod ahead of him once a vacancy in the bowling attack had opened up.
But at least there is a game for Bancroft and Neser this week.
Bancroft's one-day form for WA has been good this summer, and probably what got him over the line for Test selection as the spare batter.
Ten overs for Neser for Queensland will be ideal for keeping the motor rotating.
Both players will remain behind in Brisbane to play the domestic one-day final at Allan Border Field on Tuesday, before rejoining Australian camp on Wednesday in Adelaide.
The final Shield round before Christmas starts on December 7. It's nestled between the end of the second Test against Pakistan and before the start of the first Test against New Zealand, so Bancroft may be some chance of squeezing in a four-day hit for his State.