Banned Australian player Cameron Bancroft, on Wednesday, opened up about David Warner’s role in the ball tampering scandal that tainted Australian cricket and shocked cricket fans around the world.
In an interview with Fox Sports, Bancroft confirmed that Warner asked him to alter the ball during the tampering scandal in South Africa and said he went along with it “to fit in”.
Bancroft was seen using sandpaper to try and rough up the ball in the Cape Town Test in March. Bancroft received a nine-month ban from international and domestic cricket for his part in an incident that rocked the sport.
Warner and then captain Steve Smith were banned for a year after all three were found to be involved. A Cricket Australia probe indicated that Warner was the mastermind.
What Bancroft said?
“Dave (David 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,” said Bancroft, who completes his ban on December 29.
“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,” the Australian cricketer said.
At the time, Bancroft had been forging a new Australian Test opening partnership with the more experienced Warner. But Bancroft clarified that he did not consider himself to be a victim.
“I take no other responsibility but the responsibility I have on myself and my own actions because I am not a victim. I had a choice and I made a massive mistake and that is what is in my control,” said Bancroft.
Taking time out to deliberate over what would have happened if he had refused Warner’s suggestion, Bancroft said he might have constantly doubted himself for not placing the put team’s interest before his own.
“I would have gone to bed and I would have felt like I had let everybody down. I would have felt like I had let the team down. I would have left like I had hurt our chances to win the game of cricket.”
“The reason why it was painful is because the truth hurts. Maybe in that review there was some truths that were pretty hard to accept.”
“What does that bring? It brings an amazing opportunity to do something about it. Only Cricket Australia will know if they are being true to themselves, to be able to own up to some of those recommendations.
“If they can look at themselves in the mirror and be really content and be really peaceful, and proud of the direction they’re going, that’s OK.
“If they aren’t, like me, that value will always come undone won’t it? It will present itself in the face to you and you’ll have to learn another lesson,” Bancroft added.
What Steve Smith said?
Bancroft’s comments came after Smith’s recent opening up to the media, where he said he let himself down by not trying to stop “something from happening” when he saw Warner and Bancroft in a discussion in the Cape Town dressing room.
In his first press conference since a teary confession at Sydney Airport in April, Smith acknowledged that he could’ve stopped the ball tampering but chose to not get involved.
“In the room I walked past something and had the opportunity to stop it and I didn’t do it and that was my leadership failure. It was a potential for something to happen. It went out and happened on the field.
I had the opportunity to stop it rather than say I didn’t want to know anything about it. That was my failure of leadership for that and I have taken responsibility for that,” as per a CricBuzz report.
When Australia took on South Africa in a Test at Cape Town, Bancroft used sandpaper while working on the ball in an illegal attempt to scuff it. Initially, it was assumed that he had used tape as makeshift sandpaper, but Cricket Australia later revealed that it was indeed sandpaper.
Bancroft tried to hide the evidence when he noticed that the umpires were suspicious. He stuffed the sandpaper down his pants, and showed the umpires a piece of cloth from his pocket. However, the cameras captured it all, and the match referee charged him with ball tampering.
Bancroft, Warner, and Steve Smith were suspended from all forms of international and domestic cricket. Warner and Smith would be serving a 12 month ban while Bancroft got nine months. Additionally, the three cricketers also lost sponsorship deals they were involved in.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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