Home News Bancroft drops bombshell on sandpapergate

Bancroft drops bombshell on sandpapergate

Australia batter Cameron Bancroft flashes back to the ball-tampering scandal in 2018 Cape Town Test.

The illegal use of sandpaper in an attempt to change the shape of the ball had Bancroft suspended for nine months, and the then skipper Steve Smith and deputy David Warner for 12 months by the Cricket Australia.

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Not only that, Darren Lehmann had resigned from his head coach position after the infamous tour of South Africa.

In an interview with The Guardian in the UK, Bancroft revealed that it was not only the suspended trio who were aware of the tactic, rather the bowlers as well, as he describes it ‘self-explanatory’.

“Yeah, look, all I wanted to do was to be responsible and accountable for my own actions and part. Yeah, obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,” he said.

“I guess one thing I learnt through the journey and being responsible is that’s where the buck stops. Had I had better awareness I would have made a much better decision.”

When pressed further by The Guardian‘s Donald McRae, he replied: “Uh… yeah, look, I think, yeah, I think it’s pretty probably self-explanatory.”

Investigations were run immediately after the third South Africa-Australia Test which found only Bancroft, Smith and Warner knowing of the plan with Warner reported to have asked Bancroft to rub one side of the ball.

In the interview, Bancroft admits he had carried the act to feel himself valued within the group which had him ‘lose control’.

“Absolutely. I grew up idolising Test cricketers and that was a dream I wanted for me. Holding that so sacred to my heart made me a little naive and vulnerable to wanting to be embraced and a part of it all. At that point I hadn’t really grasped the concept that cricket’s just a game. Yes, you’re playing for Australia. Yes, it’s Test cricket. Yes, it’s something to be really proud of. But it is just a game,” Bancroft added.

“I invested too much to the point where I lost control of my values. What had become important to me was being liked, being well valued, feeling really important to my teammates, like I was contributing something by using sandpaper on a cricket ball. That’s something I don’t think I even understood until that mistake happened. But it’s part of the journey and a hard lesson I needed to learn.”

Bancroft has not played for Australia again after the 2019 Ashes in England. He now prepares to play for Durham as an overseas in the County Championship.

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