Cameron Bancroft reveals David Warner’s role in ball-tampering scandal that rocked Australian cricket
Former Australia opening bat Cameron Bancroft says he felt pressured to “fit in” when David Warner asked him to tamper with the ball in the infamous sandpaper incident in Cape Town.
- Cameron Bancroft says he would have felt he had let the team down if he had rejected David Warner’s push to tamper with the ball
- Bancroft said he “didn’t know any better” as he was trying to fit in and feel valued in the team
- Then-captain Steve Smith has recently said his “leadership failure” saw him ignore Warner and Bancroft’s discussion in the Cape Town changing room
Bancroft found himself at the centre of the ball-tampering scandal that rocked Australian cricket during a Test match against South Africa earlier in 2018, which led to 12-month bans for Warner and captain Steve Smith, and a nine-month suspension for himself.
Now Bancroft, who recently wrote an open letter to his younger self in the wake of the scandal, says his opening batting partner Warner was the one who asked him to tamper with the ball.
“Dave [Warner] suggested to me to carry the action out on the ball given the situation we were in in the game and I didn’t know any better,” Bancroft told Fox Sports.
“I didn’t know any better because I just wanted to fit in and feel valued really, as simple as that.
“The decision was based around my values, what I valued at the time and I valued fitting in … you hope that fitting in earns you respect and with that, I guess, there came a pretty big cost for the mistake.”
Such was the pressure to please his senior teammates, Bancroft said he felt like he would have let his team down if he did not follow through with the plan.
“I would have gone to bed and I would have felt like I had let everybody down. I would have felt like I had let the team down,” he said.
“I would have left like I had hurt our chances to win the game of cricket.”
The saga unfolded as broadcasters in South Africa spotted Cameron Bancroft tampering with the ball in Cape Town. (News Video)
It follows Smith’s recent opening up to the media, where he said he let himself down by not trying to stop “something from happening” when he saw Warner and Bancroft in a discussion in the Cape Town dressing room.
“I walked past something and had the opportunity to stop it, and I didn’t do it,” Smith said in his first media appearance since arriving back in Australia in March.
“That was my leadership failure. It was the potential for something to happen and it went on and happened out in the field and I had the opportunity to stop it at that point.”
The fallout from the incident saw Darren Lehmann step down as national coach, to be replaced by Justin Langer, while also prompting huge internal reviews into the culture of the men’s Test team and Cricket Australia’s organisation.
Cameron Bancroft says David Warner (pictured) asked him to tamper with the ball. (Reuters: Sumaya Hisham)
In his open letter, published by The West Australian, Bancroft said he had forgiven himself for his role in the scandal.
“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 said.
“Have faith and embrace uncertainty.”
Smith and Warner will become eligible for national selection once more in March 2019.