Bancroft reveals he agreed to Warner's ball-tampering suggestion to 'fit in'

Sport360 staff 26/12/2018
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Cameron Bancroft has revealed David Warner was the one to suggest he should tamper with the ball during Australia‘s notorious Test match in South Africa that saw him handed a nine-month ban.

Bancroft’s attempt to manipulate the ball in Cape Town with what was later revealed to be sandpaper was a plan orchestrated, according to a Cricket Australia investigation, by vice-captain Warner.

Now Bancroft has detailed the events in Cape Town in March this year, telling Fox Sports he did not know any better and just “wanted to fit in and feel valued”.

In an interview with the Australian broadcaster, the 26-year-old said: “Dave (Warner) suggested to me to carry the action out on the ball given the situation we were in the game. I didn’t know any better because I just wanted to fit in and feel valued really. As simple as that.

“The decision was based around my values, what I valued at the time and I valued fitting in… you hope that fitting in earns you respect and with that, I guess, there came a pretty big cost for the mistake.”

The right-handed batsman admitted, however, he had to take responsibility for his part in the scandal, saying he is not a “victim”.

He added: “I take no other responsibility but the responsibility I have on myself and my own actions because I am not a victim. I had a choice and I made a massive mistake and that is what is in my control.”

Former Australia captain Steve Smith was found to have known about the plan midway through the third Test against the Proteas but failed to prevent it and, as such, all three players received lengthy suspensions.

Last week, Smith admitted there have been some “dark days” following the incident.

“I’ve made a mistake and it was a big mistake and I’m trying to move on from that and improve as a person,” Smith told Cricket Australia’s website.

Bancroft’s ban from international and domestic cricket expires on December 29 and he is available to line up for the Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League.

Earlier this year, he joined the Desert Blaze in the Strike League in Australia’s Northern Territory during the ‘winter’ months of July and August, where he was caught for one in his first innings, and posted a top score of 78 during the tournament.

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Cameron Bancroft almost quit the game to become yoga teacher

Sport360 staff 22/12/2018
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Cameron Bancroft.

Australian batsman Cameron Bancroft revealed he considered giving up cricket to become a yoga teacher after the ball-tampering scandal that rocked the cricketing world.

Bancroft received a nine-month ban from international and domestic cricket for his part in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa earlier in the year where he used sandpaper to alter the condition of the ball. Then-captain Steve Smith and deputy David Warner were suspended for a year.

A day after Smith held a press conference in Sydney, Bancroft also broken his silence. His ban runs out in a week.

Bancroft decided to do that through a letter addressed to his former self, which was published in the West Australian newspaper.

In it, Bancroft talked about the major influence Australian coach Justin Langer has had on him, along with West Australian mentor Adam Voges. He said a crucial moment was when Voges asked him to justify why he should be on a pre-season trip to Brisbane with the Western Warriors Sheffield Shield team.

“On your way to present your case to your coach you realise this is the moment when you begin to become OK with the thought of never having cricket as part of your life again,” he wrote in the letter.

“Until you are able to acknowledge that you are Cameron Bancroft, the person who plays cricket as a profession, and not Cameron Bancroft the cricketer, you will not be able to move forward. This will become a defining moment for you.”

Bancroft revealed yoga became an important part of his life while dealing with the ramifications of the ban. In fact, at one point he considered quitting the game to become of a yoga teacher.

“Maybe cricket isn’t for you, you’ll ask yourself … will you return? Yoga will be such a fulfilling experience,” he wrote.

Bancroft ultimately decided to return to cricket and is set to make his comeback in the Big Bash Twenty20 League for the Perth Scorchers on December 30.

“While you do not look that different, on the inside you are a vastly different man to the bloke who made that mistake in South Africa,” he added in the letter. “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.”

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Dav Whatmore backs Tim Paine's long-term Australia Test captaincy

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Tim Paine has led Australia admirably.

Australian veteran coach Dav Whatmore has backed the long-term captaincy of Tim Paine, who has steered the Australia team during turbulent times with authority.

Paine is the stand-in captain for Australia after Steve Smith and David Warner were suspended for 12 months for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa earlier in the year. When their suspensions end next year, Smith will have to wait one year before being considered for a leadership role while Warner has been banned from captaincy for life.

Paine, who was one the verge of quitting cricket and taking up a corporate job at equipment giants Kookaburra, has marshalled his troops well since taking over the role. His Australian team earned a respectable draw in the Dubai Test against Pakistan in October and have now squared the four-Test series against India at home 1-1 after a close defeat in Adelaide and a thumping win in Perth.

Whatmore, who has coached Sri Lanka, Pakistan and is currently guiding the Kerala state Ranji Trophy team in India, said Paine has done admirably in the hot seat and should find himself in that role in the longer run.

“Yes, I think so (Paine deserves longer run). Steve Smith will came right back in; he may need a few side games. He won’t get the leadership, I am pretty sure about it. Paine has done a very good job with the team he has got,” Whatmore, who was in Dubai to oversee a special winter training camp by Kricket’s Spero, told Sport360.

“In the short space of time, he has created a very positive image, trying to change the culture and what the team stands for. He himself has also been very strong. He won’t take a backward step but he is doing it the right way.”

Whatmore said the Border-Gavaskar Trophy is turning out to be a lot more competitive than some expected because of Australia’s strong bowling attack.

“You have got a good team travelling well, in India. And you have a team at home who are used to the conditions better. Now you have a good competition going. One-all, it will be a beauty at Melbourne. Batting has let Australia down. Still there is a long way to go for it to be a good Australian batting team. But it is even. The contest is lot closer than most people think,” he added.

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