Cameron Bancroft’s nine-month ban for his part in the Newlands ball-tampering scandal ends on December 29 and he is expected to return to professional cricket the day after for Perth Scorchers against Hobart Hurricanes in the BBL. Here is a look back of a turbulent time for the opening batsman
During the afternoon session of the third day at Newlands, footage captures Bancroft putting a yellow object – later confirmed as sandpaper – down his trousers. He is approached by the umpires to explain his actions and initially shows them his sunglasses case. After play he and Steven Smith front the media, but at the time Bancroft claims he had used tape with bits of dirt on it.
“I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and I want to be here because I’m accountable for my actions,” he says that night. “I’m not proud of what’s happened and I have to live with the consequences and the damage to my own reputation.”
Bancroft is handed three demerit points – one short of an automatic one-match ban but that would soon be rendered superfluous – and fined 75% of his match fee by the ICC.
Match referee Andy Pycroft says: “As a young player starting out in international cricket, I hope the lessons learned from this episode will strongly influence the way he plays the game during the rest of his career.”
Bancroft is handed a nine-month ban by Cricket Australia which rules him out of international and state cricket until the end of the year.
The chargesheet laid down by CA notes: “[He] had knowledge of the plan, took instruction as to its carrying out and then did so, before seeking to conceal the evidence and then to mislead the umpires as to what had taken place, and then joined Smith in making misleading public comments about what he had done.”
CA also confirms it was sandpaper used on the ball.
Bancroft flies home to Perth and gives an emotional press conference where he apologises for his actions and the initial lie.
“Yes, I lied. I lied about the sandpaper and I panicked. I panicked in that situation and I’m very sorry. I love the game of cricket and playing for my nation and my state, there is no greater pride for me. I am extremely disappointed and regret my actions. I am sorry to the people who have looked up to me around the world, especially the kids.”
Although his ban does not prevent him from playing overseas, Bancroft is dumped by English county Somerset.
Bancroft confirms he will not appeal the CA sanctions.
“Today I lodged the paperwork with Cricket Australia and will be accepting the sanction handed down. I would love to put this behind me and will do whatever it takes to earn back the trust of the Australian public.”
He makes his return to competitive cricket in the Northern Territory Strike League in Darwin.
“Part of me being up here is giving back and imparting the experience to the other guys in the change room and on the field,” he says. “It will be a good opportunity with training up here to be a mentor and connect with some of the NT guys.”
Bancroft spends a night in hospital after top-edging the ball into his throat while batting in Darwin.
Bancroft returns to Premier cricket in Perth with his club side Willetton.
“There have been times I haven’t played cricket and sat there and wondered how I got here,” he tells Perth Now. “To be here now is another part of the journey and I’m here to embrace it. I’ve been challenged a lot and to be able to detach myself from cricket has been one of the biggest lessons I’ve had to learn.”
He scores 154 while captaining Willetton and Adam Voges, the Western Australia and Perth Scorchers coach, says he expects him to come straight into the BBL side against Hobart Hurricanes the day after his ban ends.
“He’ll be ready to go. I see a real possibility that he’ll come straight back in for that game,” Voges says. “I know he won’t have played any high-level competitive cricket for a period, but it certainly hasn’t stopped him from trying to improve.”
“Many people will judge you as a cheat, but that is OK. Always love and respect everyone. You will love those people because you forgive them. Just like you’re going to forgive yourself…You know you cannot say sorry enough, but actually it is time you allow your cricket to be about what you have learnt and use this opportunity to make a great impact.”
Speaking to Adam Gilchrist on Fox Sports, Bancroft says in his own words for the first time that he was instructed to tamper with the ball by David Warner. He says that he did it to “fit in” with the team.