Cameron Bancroft’s world came crashing down when was caught removing sandpaper from his trouser pocket to tamper with the condition of the ball during the Newlands Test against South Africa. The ball-tampering fiasco in the Cape Town Test damaged the reputation of Australian cricket and it resulted in a nine-month ban for Bancroft in addition to one-year bans for Steve Smith and David Warner. The right-hander, whose ban ends in December and could make his comeback in the Big Bash League, has opened up about the emotional toll that the entire episode took on him and that he pondered quitting the game altogether to take up a job as a yoga instructor.
Bancroft wrote a long letter addressed to his former self and it was published in the Western Australian Newspaper. In that, he wrote, “Maybe cricket isn't for you, you'll ask yourself ... will you return? Yoga will be such a fulfilling experience. 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, who has been playing grade level cricket with Willetton District Cricket Club, had his passion for the game rekindled during Western Australia’s pre-season trip to Brisbane. In that, he was asked by his mentor and new Western Australia coach Adam Voges to justify as to why he should be included in the side.
“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.
Bancroft’s yoga expertise is well known, having helped Nathan Coulter-Nile overcome his frequent stress fractures on his back by taking regular classes. The right-handed batsman undertook a yoga teaching course and has become the instructor for Coulter-Nile and some of his team-mates. Apart from yoga, Bancroft worked with a charity that supported children with cancer as part of his community service. However, the Australian opener is aware that he will be judged mostly for his actions which he committed in the Newlands Test.
“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…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,” Bancroft said.
Recently, Steve Smith had opened up about the ball-tampering scandal during a press conference in Sydney. “Something happened out on the field and I had the opportunity to stop it at that point rather than say I don't want to know anything about it, that was my failure and I've taken responsibility for that,” Smith said. The Australia skipper, whose ban ends in March, admitted that watching the Australian team struggle after he was banned was the hardest thing he had faced. After losing the Newlands Test, Australia were thrashed by 492 runs in Johannesburg to lose the series 1-3. They were whitewashed 0-5 in England and lost the Tests and T20Is to Pakistan. They lost the ODIs and T20I to South Africa to continue their miserable run.