Text shows Cameron Bancroft’s class
A TEXT message Cameron Bancroft sent after being caught ball tampering in the third cricket Test between Australia and South Africa in Cape Town has added weight to the belief he's made of the right stuff to wear the baggy green again.
Suspended for nine months after making a mistake he says will haunt him for the rest of his life, Bancroft has in some circles been cast as the patsy in Australian cricket's darkest hour.
Cricket fans are worried about the mental states of him, Steve Smith and David Warner as they come to terms with their punishments. But as one anecdote proves, Bancroft's worth as a person will be far more important than his skills with the bat as he seeks to atone for his grievous error in judgment.
West Australian teammate Michael Klinger texted Bancroft "something along the lines of, 'Thinking of you, mate'" after he fronted the press alongside Smith mid-Test to explain what happened when cameras caught him scraping the ball with sandpaper.
The 25-year-old's "remarkable" response ensured Klinger's respect only grew for him.
"His response summed up what Bangers, the person, is all about," Klinger wrote in an article for Players Voice.
"He thanked me, then turned the discussion to my family. He said my wife, Cindy, is going through something of far greater significance than what he was experiencing in South Africa. That, he added, was true perspective.
"Cindy was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months ago.
"Personally, I think that's a pretty remarkable way for a 25-year-old bloke to respond in the middle of the biggest crisis of his life, one that was being documented all over the world."
Australia has had years to get to know Smith and Warner, who have been banned for 12 months and stripped of the captaincy and vice-captaincy, but a lot less time to understand Bancroft.
The opener made his Test debut in last summer's Ashes and is still new to the international scene. Klinger revealed in his early days playing first class cricket Bancroft was so intense and highly strung senior players like Marcus North and Adam Voges had to work hard "to relax him and help him find perspective on and off the field".
If Bancroft's text message is anything to go by, he's found that perspective.
But it hasn't been at the expense of improving as a cricketer. One of the biggest takeaways from his press conference last Thursday after touching down in Perth was how filthy Bancroft was for giving up his spot in the Test team after working his backside off to earn it in the first place.
"The thing that breaks my heart the most is I've just given up my spot in the team to somebody else for free," Bancroft said.
"People know I've worked so hard to get to this point in my career, and to know I've just given somebody else an opportunity for free is devastating for me."
Klinger said Bancroft "is the hardest trainer I have encountered anywhere in the world in my 19 years of professional cricket" and takes feedback on board better than most young players. It's those traits that make Klinger confident we'll see Bancroft back in the national fold one day.
"I reckon Cam has got what it takes. This won't be the last we'll see of him in the baggy green. He'll make the country proud again," Klinger wrote.
Bancroft, Smith and Warner may still appeal their punishments handed down by Cricket Australia, with that decision to be known by April 11.
Hearings over the level-three charges and/or sanctions issued to the trio are expected to take place - if needed - on Wednesday week.
There remains a possibility they will take their medicine and CA will put a full stop to the ball tampering saga that has already cost the governing body millions in sponsorship and affected TV rights negotiations. However, it is fading fast.
Warner is understood to be particularly keen to put his case to an independent code-of-conduct commissioner.
Smith and Bancroft have also sought legal advice and are strongly considering challenging their bans. CA's code of conduct dictates that players can accept sanctions at any point "prior to the commencement of the hearing at the time/place specified in the notice of charge", which is understood to be April 11.
- with AAP