Western Australian opens up about sandpaper controversy and reflects on life lessons gained since
Cameron Bancroft has claimed he "didn't know any better" than to take sandpaper to the ball during the Cape Town Test against South Africa in March, an action that led to a nine-month suspension for the Western Australian.
As he readies himself for a comeback to cricket with Perth Scorchers, Bancroft spoke with legendary 'keeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist on Fox Cricket, and explained how he had been influenced by his desire to "fit in and feel valued".
Bancroft had forged a new Australian Test opening partnership with David Warner across the home summer and during the South Africa series, and confirmed it was Warner who advised him to cheat during that third Test.
"Dave (Warner) suggested to me to carry the action out on the ball given the situation we were in the game and I didn't know any better," Bancroft told Gilchrist. "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."
Bancroft has spent time practising yoga and training to teach the discipline, while also playing cricket for Perth premier club Willetton and engaging in the 100 hours cricket community service that was part of his punishment.
The 26-year-old explained that time had been his best ally in forgiving himself for what became a costly mistake.
"Time has allowed that (forgiving himself) to happen," he said. "There's people out there that are forever going to look at me and say, 'He's a cheat', 'He's the guy that cheated', 'He's a cheater' and point the finger and be really serious about it."
Earlier this month, in a column published in the West Australian, Bancroft wrote what was labelled 'A letter to my former self', providing an insight into his changes views and attitudes since the Cape Town controversy. He listed a key moment in his shifted perspective as being when he was not invited on the Warriors' pre-season trip to Brisbane.
"As the Warriors squad prepare for a pre-season trip to Brisbane, you will be told that you are not included," he wrote. "Yes, you won't be going, plus you can't even play!
"(Coach Adam Voges) will ask you to justify why you should go to Brisbane. You easily write four pages of reasons – it's truly unfulfilling. 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.
"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 is expected to play for the Scorchers against Hobart in their KFC Big Bash clash on December 30.