The opener apologises for his role in the ball-tampering scandal and vows to serve the community.
A remorseful Cameron Bancroft fronted up to the media on his arrival back in Australia and apologised for his role in the ball-tampering scandal that engulfed Australia during the third Test in Cape Town last week.
Bancroft was banned by Cricket Australia for nine months after being caught on camera treating the ball on the third day of the Test with what was later revealed to be sandpaper.
Steve Smith and David Warner, the team’s captain and vice-captain respectively, were banned for 12 months for their role in the incident and their subsequent response to it.
Cameron Bancroft: It's going to be a really long road particularly for myself to earn that respect back but for me that's the most important thing.— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) March 29, 2018
Bancroft said it was something he would regret for the rest of his life. “I want to say that I'm very sorry,” he said. "I will regret this for the rest of my life. All I can do in the short term is ask for forgiveness. I will do my best to contribute to the community.”
“I have never ever been involved in tampering with the ball (before now) and it clearly compromises my values and what I stand for as a player and as a person. I have let everyone down in Australia, and I am not proud of that. It will take time to earn the respect back.”
The opening batsman also admitted that he lied about the sandpaper. “I lied. I lied about the sandpaper. I panicked in that situation and I'm very sorry. I feel like I've let everyone down in Australia.”
Bancroft also lamented giving up his role at the top of the Test batting line-up – Matt Renshaw and Joe Burns have been called up as replacement openers for the fourth Test in Johannesburg, along with Glenn Maxwell.
Bancroft said: “I worked so hard to get to this point in my career and now, I have given that spot to somebody else,” he said. “People know I worked so hard to get to this point in my career and to have given up that chance for free is devastating.”
“What's embarrassing is that I had the opportunity to take control of my own values and actions but I didn't. It's going to be a long road (back). The moment I step outside this room, I will start taking steps towards getting back that dream.”
Cameron Bancroft: The thing that breaks my heart the most is that I've given up my spot in the team for free. People know I worked so hard to get to this point in my career and to have given up that chance for free is devastating.— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) March 29, 2018
The fall-out from the scandal has perhaps affected Warner and Smith more severely, them being the more senior figures to be involved. Smith stood down as captain of the team, with Tim Paine set to fill the role in the final Test in Johannesburg. Both Smith and Warner also lost their contracts with their Indian Premier League sides.
On Wednesday, all of Smith, Warner and Bancroft were charged with breaching Article 2.3.5 of the CA Code of Conduct, namely that their conduct was contrary to the spirit of the game and brought cricket into disrepute. Having developed the plan to gain an unfair advantage, CA said Warner would not be considered for a team leadership position in the future, while Smith and Bancroft would not be entrusted with a position of responsibility for a minimum of 12 months after the completion of their bans.
In addition, all three players would be required to undertake 100 hours of voluntary service in community cricket, and have been encouraged to play club cricket.