Cameron Bancroft has confirmed for the first time that David Warner encouraged him to try to tamper with the ball in Cape Town with the tacit approval of the captain Steven Smith, leading to a scandal that saw all three banned from the game while Cricket Australia dealt with a host of cultural repercussions.
The week after Smith revealed he had been aware of conversation between Warner and Bancroft about possible ball-tampering and stated “I don’t want to know about it”, thus allowing the events that followed to take place, Bancroft said that he had accepted the then vice-captain’s advice because he “just wanted to fit in and feel valued” in the team.
“Dave [Warner] suggested to me to carry the action out on the ball given the situation we were in in the game and I didn’t know any better,” Bancroft told Fox Sports. “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. 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.
“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.”
Having been handed a nine-month ban by CA, as opposed to the one year penalties given to Warner and Smith, Bancroft is due to make his return to domestic ranks in the Big Bash League game between Perth Scorchers and Hobart Hurricanes in Launceston on December 30.
In the intervening months he has worked to broaden himself, taking up yoga and reading widely in addition to the CA-imposed order to do community work and playing club cricket in The Northern Territory and also his home town of Perth.
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Towards the end of his suspension, Bancroft said that the cultural lessons of Cape Town and the subsequent Longstaff and McCosker cultural reviews would be lost on CA as an organisation if the governing body was not as honest and self-critical as he had been compelled to be.
“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,” Bancroft said. “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.”