Australia’s Bancroft returns to cricket after tampering ban
LAUNCESTON, Australia (AP) — Cameron Bancroft was out for just two runs on his return to competitive cricket following a nine-month ban for his role in the Australia test team’s ball-tampering plot in South Africa in March.
Bancroft was selected by Perth Scorchers for the Big Bash League Twenty20 game against Hobart Hurricanes on Sunday after his suspension by Cricket Australia ended.
He came in with his team 16-3 and was greeted by a few boos. He was out caught behind soon after, facing just four deliveries — including one wide — to leave the Scorchers 19-4. He also kept wicket as his team went on to lose by six wickets.
Bancroft was captured on television using a piece of sandpaper to rough up the ball during the third test in South Africa, and then trying to hide the sandpaper down his trousers when he realized he had been spotted. The scandal developed into a highly embarrassing episode for Australian cricket. Test captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were banned for 12 months for their parts in the plot, which resulted in a major shake-up at Cricket Australia.
In an interview aired Wednesday, Bancroft claimed Warner pressured him to tamper with the ball. Smith also spoke publicly about the scandal recently and said he became aware of the plan by Warner and Bancroft to tamper but didn’t do anything to stop it.
Smith and Warner have both played in T20 leagues overseas during their bans but the 26-year-old Bancroft had played only non-professional club cricket in Australia before his return for the Scorchers.