Cameron Bancroft's claim about Aussie bowlers that might have cost him a Test recall

The opening batter has only played two Tests for Australia since the infamous ball-tampering scandal of 2018.

Cameron Bancroft, pictured here alongside Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins.
Cameron Bancroft made explosive comments suggesting the Aussie bowlers had knowledge of the ball-tampering. Image: Getty

Cameron Bancroft has once again been overlooked for the Aussie Test squad to take on the West Indies in the latest indication he might be on the outer with the Australian cricket team. Bancroft was one of the leading contenders to replace David Warner at the top of the order in the Test team, after the veteran played his final match at the SCG last week.

Australia will play two Tests against the West Indies in the coming weeks, with Cameron Green brought back into the XI and specialist openers Bancroft, Matt Renshaw and Marcus Harris all overlooked. Renshaw was named in the 13-man squad, but Steve Smith is likely to open in Warner's absence and Green slot into the middle order.

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The fact Bancroft was snubbed from the squad altogether has fuelled suggestions there is a reluctance to pick him despite the fact he's been the leading batter in the last two Sheffield Shield seasons. Some have suggested that Bancroft's role in the ball-tampering scandal of 2018 - and his subsequent comments about the Aussie bowling quarter - might be a factor weighing against him.

The West Australian was caught rubbing sandpaper on the ball during a Test against the Proteas and was subsequently banned for nine months, although the widespread theory is he was acting on orders from Warner. Bancroft has played for Australia since the scandal - two Tests at the start of the Ashes in 2019 - but he was dropped after some poor form. Discussing a potential recall on Sunday, the 31-year-old said he was confident that the wounds of 'sandpaper-gate' had healed.

"The past has been a great ground for me to learn things about myself," he said. "I feel like I definitely owe it to my country to put those lessons into play. We all make mistakes in the world, and I have obviously done that in my playing career. It is pretty obvious that has been the case for me.

"One of the lessons I have learned over the time is to be able to take control of your own actions and responsibilities. They are definitely values that have risen to the surface for me, and I have tried to apply them to all aspects of my life and to my cricket to make me a better person."

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Bancroft said he is confident his relationship with the team is fine, despite appearing to throw bowlers Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon under the bus in relation to their knowledge of the tampering at the time. While Bancroft, Warner and then-captain Smith were the only players punished for their involvement, Bancroft heavily implied that the bowling quartet knew what was going on.

"Obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory," he said in an interview in 2021. When pressed on the matter he said: "I think it's pretty probably self-explanatory".

Cameron Bancroft, pictured here after he was caught rubbing sandpaper on the ball in 2018.
Cameron Bancroft was caught rubbing sandpaper on the ball during a Test against South Africa in 2018. (Photo by Peter Heeger/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Awkwardly, Cummins, Hazlewood, Starc and Lyon are all still in the team. The bowlers released a strongly-worded statement denying any knowledge of the tampering at the time, and Bancroft has since moved to smooth the waters with the veteran players. But his inability to break back into the Test squad is a pretty clear indication that all is not well.

"I think time has moved past that," he said on Sunday. "I have still run into those players plenty of times over the past couple of years, and I have felt nothing but business-as-usual in how you interact with people.

"What has happened in the past has been and gone now. I know those guys feel the same. The Australian cricket team has moved forward, they have been really successful. I have moved forward with my cricket and career as well. I feel like it wouldn't be an issue if I come into the environment."

with AAP

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