Cameron Bancroft handed shock captaincy role

Cameron Bancroft has been appointed captain of English side Durham ahead this season’s County Championship and domestic one-day cup sides.

Bancroft returned to action last December after a nine-month suspension for his role in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa that also led to year-long bans for Australia captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner.

The opener was caught on camera attempting to manipulate the ball with sandpaper during the Newlands Test last March – although his status as the most junior of the trio saw him receive the lightest sanction from Cricket Australia.

The furore did not deter Durham from swooping for Bancroft as their overseas signing last August and they have now gone one step further following the retirement of stalwart Paul Collingwood at the end of last season.

Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith were at the centre of the scandal. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Lead high performance coach James Franklin said: “We’re delighted to have Cameron with us for the season and we’re confident he has the attributes to lead this exciting young Durham dressing room.

“He has invaluable experience at the top level and has enjoyed a successful spell in England before, during his time with Gloucestershire.

“He’s proven since returning to first-class cricket over the last few months that he has the mental toughness, skill and attitude to excel at the highest level.

“I’m sure he will relish the challenge we have at Durham this season.”

Cameron Bancroft in action for Western Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Fellow Aussies sign County deals

Bancroft, who has featured in the Big Bash League and Sheffield Shield on his comeback, will miss Durham’s championship opener at Derbyshire, which starts on April 5.

Alex Lees will therefore take the role for the fixture, with Bancroft available for the following week’s game against Sussex.

Nottinghamshire have also confirmed the signing of Victorian quick James Pattinson for seven county matches.

Kent have also signed Queensland opener Matt Renshaw for the early part of the season while Peter Siddle and Shaun Marsh are due for second successive seasons at Essex and Glamorgan, respectively.