Durham chief executive Tim Bostock has insisted the club has signed “an outstanding young man” after handing disgraced Australia batsman Cameron Bancroft a chance to rehabilitate himself.
The 25-year-old will head for Chester-le-Street as the club’s overseas player for 2019 after completing a ban following his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal which rocked world cricket earlier this year.
Coming at the end of a week during which Durham and England all-rounder Ben Stokes had been acquitted of affray, it left Durham in the spotlight, but well aware of its responsibilities.
Bostock told Press Association Sport: “It’s not a responsibility we take lightly at all.
“He (Bancroft) is an outstanding cricketer – that’s the first thing – he’s actually an outstanding young man. I have been living in Australia for a period of time, I’ve got lots of Australian friends, the guys in our changing room, they know him.
“We have done some due diligence around Cameron as a character – we do that around all of the players that we sign, to be perfectly honest. It’s very important that they fit into the dressing room and they fit into the Durham way of doing things.
“He’s an incredibly professional guy, hard-working, and I think he will set the right example for the younger guys, as well as some of the older guys as well.
“The time he’s had off has been very sobering for him. He certainly realises he’s made a huge mistake.
“He’s been punished for that, quite rightly. Cameron is looking forward to getting back out on the field – that’s where his real passion is, playing cricket.”
Bancroft was handed a nine-month suspension for attempting to alter the condition of the ball with sandpaper during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town with captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner receiving 12-month bans.
Durham made no mention of the scandal in their press release announcing the opener’s capture, but Bostock was adamant the club had done their homework.
He said: “It’s purely a cricket decision. Everybody makes mistakes and he was punished for it, and obviously he has served that suspension.
“It was a cricket decision, but as I said earlier, it’s important that we look at the character of individuals as well and we’re very happy that Cameron will add an awful lot to our dressing room in the right sort of way.
“He’s incredibly keen. He’s been, obviously, very frustrated, but he understands completely the reasons why he’s been restricted to playing club cricket.
“He’s doubly determined to rehabilitate himself, if you like, and not just by scoring runs. I think he really wants to demonstrate he actually is a fine young man, and we know he is.”
So far, Joe Root’s England side have been far superior in all departments winning the Edgbaston Test by 31 runs before thrashing the tourists by an innings and 159 runs at Lord’s in the second Test.
The last time Virat Kohli’s side played in Nottingham, they came out comprehensive eight-wicket winners in the first ODI. The Indians will be hoping for another positive when the game starts on Saturday although they don’t exactly have the best of records at the ground.
Ahead of the Trent Bridge Test, we look back at how India fared in the longer format.
JUNE 1959 – LOST BY AN INNINGS AND 59 RUNS
It was a ruthless welcome for the Indian as England let the batting do the talking. The hosts only needed one attempt with Peter May’s 106 proving crucial in their score of 422. It was a big total and ultimately it was too much for the Indians. Pankaj Roy hit a fifty in India’s reply as they posted 206. But after being forced to follow-on, India had no answer to England’s bowling with Brian Statham’s five-wicket haul seeing them reach 157 all out.
JULY 1996 – DRAW
Remarkably, the ground did not stage another Test involving India until almost 40 years later. Needing a victory to draw the three-match series, a certain Sachin Tendulkar (177) and Sourav Ganguly (136) knocked up centuries as India posted an imposing total of 521. However, England did even better with the bat as Mike Atherton (160) and Nasser Hussain (107) hit tons to amass 564. Tendulkar sent out another reminder of his potential with 74 as India made 211 with no time for England to get out for their second innings.
AUGUST 2002 – DRAW
Virender Sehwag was the nemesis after smashing 106 while Ganguly’s 68 and a late knock from tail-ender Harbhajan Singh (54) saw India reach 357. That looked a decent total but England ensured they were more than capable of surpassing that. Michael Vaughan fell three runs short of a double century while knocks from Alec Stewart (87) and Craig White (94) saw England score a mammoth 617. Rahul Dravid (115), Tendulkar (92) and Ganguly (99) were among the big scorers for the tourists as they declared on 424-8. India would go on to win the next Test in Headingley to salvage a 1-1 draw.
JULY 2007 – WON BY SEVEN WICKETS
Zaheer Khan was one of the stars of the show as the pacer took four wickets to reduce England to 198. India more than doubled that with Dinesh Karthik (77), Wasim Jaffer (62), Tendulkar (91), Sourav Ganguly (79) and VVS Laxman (54) all hitting half-centuries in their score of 481.
England fared much better on their next outing with 355 with Vaughan top-scoring with 124 but India reached their 73-run target with ease to draw first blood in the series. It later sealed a 1-0 Test series win following their draw at the Oval and remains the last time that India won a series in England.
JULY 2011 – LOST BY 319 RUNS
Ishant Sharma, Sreesanth and Praveen Kumar all took three wickets each as England were all out for 221. India could only build a lead of 67 with Dravid top-scoring with 117 as Stuart Broad did the damage with the ball with six wickets. England then ran riot with the bat, Ian Bell helping himself to a century with 159 runs as England amassed 544. That left India with much to do, needing 478 but fell way short of their target as Tim Bresnan took 5-48.
JULY 2014 – DRAW
The first match of the five-game series and India started off the tour on a strong note. Murali Vijay (146) and MS Dhoni (82) were among the big run-scorers as India posted 457. Unfortunately for the Indian bowlers, they found Joe Root in exceptional form with the batsman smashing an unbeaten 154 while Gary Ballance (71) and Jimmy Anderson (81) saw England put 496 on the board.
Vijay (52), Cheteshwar Pujara (55), Stuart Binny (78) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (63) all hit fifties as India declared on 391-9 as the game ended in a draw. India went on to win the Lord’s Test but that was as good as it got as England won 3-1.
Sri Lanka squeaked home in a low-scoring Twenty20 against South Africa, Dinesh Chandimal playing the decisive knock in Colombo.
Proteas skipper JP Duminy chose to bat first but saw his side rolled over for 98 in less than 17 overs and consigned to a three-wicket defeat.
Opener Quinton de Kock’s 20 was the best effort of an innings which slipped swiftly off the rails after he was run out.
Left-arm wrist-spinner Lakshan Sandakan took three for 19 and there were two apiece for Dhananjaya de Silva and Akila Dananjaya.
Kagiso Rabada accounted for both openers in the first over of the reply but a stand of De Silva (31) and Chandimal broke the back of the chase.
Chandimal continued to make a match-high 36 not out but wickets tumbled around him as Sri Lanka finished seven down.