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Ball-Tampering Scandal

‘Will be judged a cheat, but that’s OK’ – Cameron Bancroft

Bancroft Yoga
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Cameron Bancroft opened up about his time during the Cricket Australia-imposed nine-month exile from cricket, his calling for yoga and how is he is ‘OK’ with people calling him a cheat.

Bancroft, one of the three cricketers penalised by CA for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal during the Newlands Test in March, will complete his ban period in December and may return to action in the Big Bash League in Perth Scorchers’ game against Hobart Hurricanes on December 30.

In a piece in the West Australian on Saturday, written as a letter to his younger self on the day of the events of that South Africa Test, he spoke of the toll the incident had on him, the self-introspection it prompted, and how he made peace with it.

Bancroft, Smith and Warner were handed hefty bans for their involvement in the Newlands ball-tampering scandal

“I write this letter to you while onboard QF772 to Melbourne on December 18, 2018. You are not playing yet but you are excited to be travelling with your Scorchers teammates,” he wrote. “And 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.

“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. 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.”

Bancroft said being asked by Western Australia coach Adam Voges as to why he should be included in the team’s pre-season squad was when the repercussions of the ban finally hit him. It was a time he thought he may never play cricket again.

“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,” Bancroft wrote. “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.”

Adding how he considered practising yoga as an alternate career path, he wrote, “New friends will be made, great people with similar interests. Maybe cricket isn’t for you, you’ll ask yourself… will you return? Yoga will be such a fulfilling experience. It’s hard to feel this reality could exist.

“You meet people fighting battles greater than you can understand, but through your own hardship and journey, you can inspire others in the form of yoga. This will be tough to understand now, but have faith and embrace uncertainty.”

But playing grade-level cricket for Willetton District Cricket Club reignited his passion for the sport. “The first game will give you the answer about what the game of cricket means to you,” Bancroft wrote.

“It is simply just fun. You wear a blue cap, it won’t be a Baggy Green, but the enjoyment is the same. You love the game. That’s the heart of all passion. Cricket is still well and truly a part of who you are.”

Steve Smith and David Warner, the other two of the banned trio, are still serving their bans, which will end in March 2019. Making his first public interaction since landing in Australia from South Africa in April, Smith revealed that he regretted turning a blind eye to the ball-tampering plan while it was being hatched in the dressing room.

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