Cameron Bancroft: Career Post the Ball-Tampering Ban

The month of March in 2018 was an unforgettable day in the history of Australian cricket. The up and coming cricketer, Cameron Bancroft, was caught rubbing the ball with sandpaper. After further investigations, it was found that even the team’s captain and vice-captain, Steve Smith and David Warner were involved in this ball-tampering.

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Both Smith and Warner were handed a one-year ban by Cricket Australia while Bancroft was handed a nine-month ban. Throughout the media trial of this incident, Smith and Warner were the men in focus while Bancroft wasn’t much discussed. Given the fact that Smith and Warner are modern-day legends, the attention they got was obvious. And both of them made impactful comebacks post their ban.

Two-and-a-half years after this incident, while Smith and Warner are still big names in the world of cricket, Bancroft is now a forgotten name. Despite not being a remarkable player, Bancroft made a good first impression on his debut in 2017. He was deemed the permanent solution to Australia’s opener woes. For a long time, David Warner has had no good partner to pair up with him as an opener in Tests.

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Bancroft was a long-term prospect in Tests. Despite average performances in his first few games, he was given a long rope because of the backing of Australian cricketers such as Ricky Ponting and Shane Watson. In fact, Watson recommended that Bancroft be added to the T20 squad too.

Then, the nine-month ban happened. Some expert opined that a nine-month ban on an up-and-coming player would hamper his entire career. But, the ban wasn’t revoked. Even Bancroft’s county team, Somerset cancelled its deal with him.

The Comeback

Bancroft made his comeback to professional cricket in the 2018-2019 season of the Big Bash League. Although he scored only 2 runs in his comeback match, he scored 296 runs in that season.

Two months post that, he made his return in domestic cricket playing for the Western Warriors in the Sheffield Season. In his two innings on his return, he score 138* runs off 358 balls and 86 off 263.¬†Bancroft faced a total of 621 balls in the match, falling 28 balls short of Steve Waugh’s record of most balls faced in a shield match.

A few months post this, he was appointed the captain of Durham County team. On his one-day debut as a captain for Durham, he scored 151* off 130 balls.

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Although these performances got him a place in the Australian squad for the 2019 Ashes season, he failed to leave a mark. There were some glaring errors spotted in his defence technique due to which he ended up edging the ball quite often to the keeper. Although he has been working on that, he has also been parallelly notching up huge scores for Western Australia in First-Class cricket. He has also donned the role of a finisher for Perth Scorchers in BBL lately.

With enough talent to boast of, Bancroft has once again started knocking the doors of the selectors with his performances. Given the opening woes of Australia in Tests, will his calls be answered? Only time would tell this.

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