Cameron Bancroft’s return to cricket has been confirmed after he was named in the Perth Scorchers squad for their KFC BBL clash with the Hobart Hurricanes in Launceston on Sunday.
Bancroft’s ban for his role in using sandpaper on the ball on day three of the Cape Town Test in March officially expires today, and he was immediately included in the 13-man squad for match with the undefeated Hobart.
The Western Australian put himself back in the media spotlight this week ahead of his reintroduction to top-flight cricket, firstly penning an open letter to himself in a Perth newspaper, then sitting down with close friend Adam Gilchrist to shed light on events in Cape Town for an interview that aired on Fox Cricket at lunch on the first day of the Boxing Day Test.
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While the shadow of the Cape Town scandal and precise events from inside the Australian dressing room continues to linger, teammates and opposition are delighted to welcome back the 26-year-old.
“Everyone is really excited for him to come back. He’s been so positive in his build-up, he’s been training hard. We’re all really excited and really happy for him to be back in the team,” Scorchers teammate Jhye Richardson said this week.
“We saw before everything happened how good of a batter he was. I don’t think that’s going to change, I don’t think you can lose it, especially when we all know that he’s been training and (playing Premier Cricket). It will be good to see how he goes.
“It’s always nice to have him around, he’s such a nice guy off the field. We’re all really close with him.”
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Hobart batsman George Bailey said he too was “excited” to see Bancroft back in action.
“I imagine they (the Scorchers) would be pretty excited to have him back in the group. I don’t know how the Scorchers feel but I will certainly be one person who would be very excited to see him back,” Bailey said after his side beat the Sydney Thunder on Friday night.
Bancroft marked the expiration of his ban with an Instagram post depicting an inspirational quote from a ‘self-described Christian mummy blogger’ whose book is being turned into a movie by Oprah Winfrey.
“What a journey this has been over the last nine months,” Bancroft wrote in the caption, adding how he had struggled to find motivation to get out of bed in the immediate aftermath of the scandal.
“After thinking, reading, wondering and living it came to me that I had a choice. To lay in suffering or get up, show up and act. Action led to motivation and motivation gave me all the inspiration I needed.
“Here I am now. Grateful of where I am and the person I continue to grow to be.”
Bancroft is in contention to take the gloves for the Scorchers, who have used both Sam Whiteman and Josh Inglis in that role this season.
Whiteman returns to the Scorchers squad after missing the last match with illness, while Inglis drops out after a “turf toe” injury that will keep him sidelined for four weeks.
The Scorchers are the BBL’s most successful club but have won just one of their three games this season, though Bailey is not taking them lightly ahead of the Sunday evening match-up.
“Every team has their strengths, I’m waiting for when you come up against a team and think, ‘this should be a good match up for us’ but it feels like every team obviously has got outstanding players and stars with bat and ball so there’s some really big challenges,” the Hurricanes veteran said.
“The Scorchers are a quality side, if you look at the BBL over the last five or six years they are the No.1 team so we will certainly respect that.
“The one thing we have spoken about as a group is just how long the tournament is so whether you start well or badly it’s just very much about trying to be as consistent as possible.
“We’ve played three reasonable games of cricket, there will be hiccups along the way but it’s making sure that hopefully when you have your off night you bounce back as quick as you can.”
The Hurricanes named an unchanged 13-man squad for the clash at the University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston.
Hobart Hurricanes: Matthew Wade (c), Jofra Archer, George Bailey, Johan Botha, Alex Doolan, Jake Doran, James Faulkner, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Simon Milenko, David Moody, Clive Rose, D’Arcy Short
Perth Scorchers: Ashton Turner (c), Ashton Agar, Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Will Bosisto, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Michael Klinger, Usman Qadir, Jhye Richardson, Andrew Tye, Sam Whiteman, David Willey.