A strong proponent of mediation and mindfulness, recalled opener Cameron Bancroft insists he won’t be bothered by boos and barbs in Birmingham during the first Ashes Test.
Bancroft, David Warner and Steve Smith are poised to make their Test returns together on Thursday, when the five-Test series between Australia and England begins.
Even if Bancroft is running drinks, which would be somewhat of a surprise after finishing 93 not out in the Southampton intra-squad clash, he can expect plenty of unsolicited advice from English fans.
Especially at Edgbaston, a venue renowned for its rowdy atmosphere.
Smith and Warner were both booed throughout the World Cup semi-final at the ground, while Bancroft has already experienced some antagonism from locals during his recent stint as captain of county side Durham.
“There were times when people booed,” Bancroft told reporters.
“Or ask you to sign pieces of sandpaper, stuff like that. It doesn’t faze me. I just get on with it.
“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.
The journey I’ve been through over the last 18 months, you get exposed to things like that. It is what it is, I’ll deal with it.”</p> <p>
Vision of the young batsman stuffing a piece of sandpaper down his pants came to be one of the defining images of the ball-tampering saga that would result in unimaginable upheaval for the sport in Australia.
The West Australian admitted there were moments during the past year when he thought he’d never return to the highest level, also acknowledging a nine-month suspension has changed him as a person and a cricketer.
Smith and Warner made similar statements during their reintegration, a period full of headlines about strained relationships between the Cape Town trio.
Bancroft rubbished suggestions of any lingering bad blood from the episode that derailed all three of their careers.
“Our journeys were all different. We all fought battles that were very personal and very different,” the 26-year-old said.
“Understanding each other – and what each other was going through – was certainly something that happened.
“I’m extremely excited and proud to be selected in this squad again.”
Bancroft is confident he has improved as a batsman since opening alongside Warner during the 2017-18 Ashes.
Much of that has come from adjustments made during his exile, but the right-hander also pointed to the benefits of batting in English conditions during preceding months.
Bancroft’s stoicism, recently on show when he copped several painful blows during a match-winning dig on a dangerous Southampton pitch, remains one of his greatest strengths.
Tim Paine has suggested Bancroft must have a ‘screw loose’ because he seemingly loves getting hit on the body.
“I’d certainly much rather get hit than get out,” Bancroft said.