LONDON (Reuters) – Australian batsman Cameron Bancroft admits there were times during his suspension when he doubted whether he would play international cricket again and he is determined to make the most of his second chance.
The opener’s selection in the Ashes squad with David Warner and Steve Smith on Friday brings all three players banned for their parts in the Newlands ball-tampering incident back into the fold for the first time since the scandal in April 2018.
Bancroft was the last of the trio to get a recall after serving the shortest ban of nine months but that still gave him plenty of time to ponder his future.
“There were definitely times when I was challenged, a lot, but you go through those moments and you learn a lot about what you need to do to keep moving forward,” the 26-year-old said after being named in the squad on Friday.
“If you’d asked me 18 months ago if I’d be sitting here now, it would have been the last thing on my mind but it is what it is now.
“It probably hasn’t completely sunk in yet. I’m sure sitting by myself tonight I’ll digest it all, but of course I’m extremely proud and excited to be selected in this squad again.”
Bancroft was given the lightest punishment by Cricket Australia because he was adjudged to have been led astray by his then captain and vice captain.
The Western Australian, who was playing his eighth test when he took the piece of sandpaper onto the field at Newlands, said he was determined to trust his own values in the future.
“One of the big lessons that I learnt last year was about being true to yourself. There is no doubt that I wasn’t as true to myself as I could have been at times,” he added.
“You learn from those mistakes that you make and you try and be better moving forward. At the end of the day, what you do and your actions is completely up to you. I made a mistake and I’ll learn from it and move forward and get better.”
The rapid recall of the Newlands trio has not gone down well in the British media and Bancroft accepts that he is likely to be booed by the Edgbaston crowd if he gets selected for the first test, which starts on Thursday.
“It doesn’t bother me too much,” he said. “It is what it is. People will react how they want to react. Hopefully I can use it if people want to be like that, to give you energy to perform well.”
(Writing by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)