Grit happens: Bancroft denies tension with fast bowlers over Sandpapergate residue – ‘it wouldn’t be an issue’
Cameron Bancroft says he owes it to Australia to return to Test cricket and succeed, adamant he has healed his scars from the ball-tampering scandal and there would be no tension with his fast bowling team-mates.
The race to replace David Warner as Test opener has entered the home straight, with the squad to face the West Indies in Adelaide on January 17 to be announced Tuesday.
Bancroft has not played for Australia since two Tests at the start of the 2019 Ashes, which doubled as his comeback from the ball-tampering ban.
“The past has been a great ground for me to learn things about myself. I feel like I definitely owe it to my country to put those lessons into play,” Bancroft said.
“We all make mistakes in the world, and I have obviously done that in my playing career. It is pretty obvious that has been the case for me.
“One of the lessons I have learned over the time is to be able to take control of your own actions and responsibilities.
“They are definitely values that have risen to the surface for me, and I have tried to apply them to all aspects of my life and to my cricket to make me a better person.”
Bancroft is also hopeful the infamous Cape Town incident of 2018 will not cost him a recall, saying at the start of the summer he believed he had done his time for the crime.
The 31-year-old is also confident his relationship with the team is fine, despite evoking a strong response from the fast bowlers in 2021 when he suggested it was “self explanatory” whether they knew about the ball tampering.
“I think time has moved past that,” said Bancroft, who will play for the Sydney Thunder against his old BBL club Perth on Monday.
“I have still run into those players plenty of times over the past couple of years, and I have felt nothing but business-as-usual in how you interact with people.
“What has happened in the past has been and gone now. I know those guys feel the same.
“The Australian cricket team has moved forward, they have been really successful. I have moved forward with my cricket and career as well.
“I feel like it wouldn’t be an issue if I come into the environment.”
Bancroft began the summer as one of the front-runners for the job, having dominated the Sheffield Shield for the past 18 months with Western Australia.
But it has become increasingly likely Australia could shift to a non-specialist opener, a point over which Bancroft has repeatedly urged caution.
He also rejects the notion that the fact he is the slowest run-scorer of all candidates is an issue, as Australia look for a replacement for the fast-scoring Warner.
“No doubt we play cricket in very different ways, but there is more than one way to skin a cat. Everyone is unique in the way they play their cricket,” said Bancroft, adding he’d be “naturally” disappointed if selectors chose a non-traditional opener.
“Cricket means the world to me and I have put my heart and soul into developing my game as an opening batter.
“The selectors have always said to me that being a top-order batter and playing really well in that position is the position they’ve seen me in.
“I’ve taken that advice on board and done the best I can to score as many runs in Shield cricket.”