Sport Cricket ‘Have faith and embrace uncertainty’: Bancroft
’s soul-searching during his cricket ban
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‘Have faith and embrace uncertainty’: Bancroft
’s soul-searching during his cricket ban

Cameron Bancroft South Africa
Bancroft's ban comes to an end on December 29, three months before Steve Smith and David Warner can return. Photo: Getty
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In the wake of former Test cricket captain Steve Smith breaking his silence over the ball tampering scandal, Cameron Bancroft has also opened up on his life during his nine-month ban from the game.

In a letter addressed to himself and published in The West Australian on Saturday, Bancroft, 26, revealed how he almost gave the game away to focus on a career in yoga.

“Many people will judge you as a cheat, but that is OK. Always love and respect everyone. You will love those people because you forgive them. Just like you’re going to forgive yourself,” Bancroft wrote.

“Have faith and embrace uncertainty.”

On Friday, in Smith’s first press conference in Sydney since the March cheating scandal now famously known as ‘Sandpapergate’ that cost him his Test captaincy as well as his place in the Australian cricket team, he admitted he had the opportunity to stop the ball-tampering episode on-field.

I had the opportunity to stop it at that point, rather than say, ‘I don’t want to know anything about it’,” Smith said.

“I walked past something and had the opportunity to stop it, and I didn’t do it. And that was my leadership failure, you know?” Smith admitted.

“It was the potential for something to happen, and it went on and happened out in the field.”

At a press conference at the end of that day’s play, Bancroft, sitting next to Smith, admitted to his role in the scandal which made headlines around the world with even former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull saying it “beggars belief”.

Bancroft, who was caught on television cameras pulling a piece of sandpaper out of his pocket and subsequently putting it down his pants, was banned for nine months, handed demerit points and fined.

In the fallout from that fateful day in Cape Town in the 3rd Test against South Africa, Smith was banned from playing international and domestic cricket for 12 months, and ordered to do 100 hours of voluntary service in community cricket.

Teammate David Warner, who instructed Cameron Bancroft to rough up the ball with sandpaper, was also banned for a year.

bancroft-smith-cricket
Bancroft was also ordered to do 100 hours of community work, but he reportedly did ‘double’ the required hours. Photo: Twitter

In his open weekend letter, Bancroft explains how he became involved in teaching yoga and doing community service with the Kyle Andrews Foundation after he was suspended.

He says a crucial moment was missing the Western Warriors’ pre-season trip to Brisbane and thinking he may never play cricket again.

“Until you are able to acknowledge that you are Cameron Bancroft, the person who plays cricket as a profession, and not Cameron Bancroft the cricketer, you will not be able to move forward. This will become a defining moment for you,” Bancroft wrote.

He even considered dedicating his life to teaching yoga to help others after a taking a training course in Melbourne in September.

“You learn about anatomy, how to teach poses, alignment, the philosophy but most importantly you learn that you can use your life to a greater purpose.

“New friends will be made, great people with similar interests. Maybe cricket isn’t for you, you’ll ask yourself… will you return? Yoga will be such a fulfilling experience. It’s hard to feel this reality could exist.

“You meet people fighting battles greater than you can understand, but through your own hardship and journey you can inspire others in the form of yoga,” he wrote.

Western Australian Cricket Association chief executive Christina Matthews told News Corp Bancroft did “at least double” the required 100 hours community work by working with children with cancer.

“He wasn’t concerned at how much he did because when he started doing it he realised how much he had to give and how much he learned from working with people in environments that he’d never had a role to do,” she said.

“So he did things like working with kids with cancer to kids at schools in breakfast clubs in disadvantaged areas, he did some work with our diversity groups at the WACA, junior cricket, disabled cricket, things like that.”

But returning to playing tough, grade matches at Willetton District Cricket Club rekindled his love of cricket.

“You wear a blue cap, it won’t be a Baggy Green, but the enjoyment is the same. You love the game. That’s the heart of all passion. Cricket is still well and truly a part of who you are.”

Bancroft forgave himself for the ball-tampering scandal, describing how over the past nine months he had changed as a person, particularly in his outlook on life.