February 12, 2020 / 11:41 PM / 4 days ago

Forgotten Australia opener Renshaw to take break from game

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - India v Australia - First Test cricket match - Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune, India - 23/02/17. Australia's Matt Renshaw plays a shot. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Matt Renshaw, once tipped as a long-term fix for Australia’s opening batting problems, is taking a break from cricket after being dropped by Queensland ahead of the resumption of the Sheffield Shield season.

The 23-year-old left-hander has failed to score a century in Australia’s domestic first-class competition since playing the last of his 11 tests in 2018.

“As part of our usual review process of player performance, our coaching and support staff spent time with Matthew this week and they all came to the conclusion that he would benefit from some time away from cricket,” Queensland performance boss Bennett King told News Ltd media.

“We’re confident Matthew will benefit from a break from the game to freshen up, and look forward to working with him once he is ready to resume playing.”

Renshaw had been expected to be named in a Cricket Australia (CA) XI to play the England Lions development squad in a four-day game in Hobart this week but he told selectors he had decided to step away from the game, CA’s website (cricket.com.au) said.

Renshaw made his test debut at 20 against South Africa in 2016 and scored 184 against Pakistan in his fourth test, an Australian record for a player of his age.

Dropped ahead of the 2017-18 home Ashes against England, Renshaw appeared set to reclaim his spot after openers David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were suspended for ball-tampering in South Africa the following year.

But after suffering concussion during a tour match leading into the 2018 series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, the Yorkshire-born batsman has been overlooked by test selectors since.

Fellow Queenslander Joe Burns has partnered Warner at the top of the Australia order for the past year, though Burns’s spot has also come under scrutiny after a lean series against New Zealand over the home summer.

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Ed Osmond

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