MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Former Australia batsman Cameron Bancroft has played down any talk of a rift with David Warner after being accused of throwing his fellow opener “under a bus” in a controversial interview about the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal.
Bancroft, who was suspended for nine months for his part in the Newlands incident, made a successful return to first class cricket on Saturday, unbeaten on 73 for Western Australia at stumps on the first day.
The 26-year-old was roundly criticised for casting Warner as the instigator in an interview during the Boxing Day test against India, while describing himself as an impressionable rookie just wanting to “fit in” to the team.
Former Australia captain and TV pundit Ricky Ponting, now employed as a coaching consultant for the one-day international team, said Bancroft had further “damaged (his) brand”, while Michael Slater said he had “buried” Warner.
Two months on from the interview, Bancroft said he had been in touch with Warner, and that all three banned players had supported each other through their “journey”.
“I think all of us, including Dave, have been really challenged through this period of time,” Bancroft told state radio station ABC.
“I know that all three of us have really stuck by each other and looked after each other well.
“You can’t understand the trauma I felt, it was probably very different trauma to how he (Warner) felt, and I can’t possibly understand that.
“I guess moving forward there will be great lessons for all of us, including Dave.
“That’s something we’ve all shared with each other and something I’ve certainly shared with Dave when we’ve communicated throughout this entire journey.”
Bancroft’s ban expired in December, while those of Warner and former captain Steve Smith will end March 29.
Bancroft had no regrets about his interview with former Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, saying he felt he had “important learnings to share”.
“I guess if other people were triggered by that, I guess that’s their battle to face,” he said.
“But if I was able to touch people through some parts of my journey, and to help them I guess break through [in] their lives, that was my sole intention for that.”
Bancroft has signed to play with English county side Durham as he looks to regain a place in the test side for the Ashes starting in August.
“I think I love the game far more authentically now,” he said.
“You know at times you get caught up in some unhealthy values that playing at the highest level can sometimes present — at the end of the day it’s a game of cricket, and it’s nice that that’s why I play the game (now).”
(Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)