Cameron Bancroft is ‘chomping at the bit’ to put the latest furore over his ball-tampering comments behind him after lining up for Durham against Derbyshire on Thursday.
Bancroft who has trained at Emirates Riverside over the past week since coming out of quarantine, returned to competitive action on Monday for Durham Seconds against Leicestershire and was included in the first team’s County Championship game at the Incora County Ground.
It comes after another high-profile week for the Australian batsman after his comments made about ball-tampering in the Cape Town Test match in 2018.
Speaking to the Guardian last week, Bancroft was asked directly if Australia’s bowlers knew about the plan to use sandpaper on the ball in the third Test against South Africa three years ago and replied that the answer was “pretty probably self-explanatory”.
The four bowlers who played in that Test, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon, then issued a strongly-worded statement on Tuesday denying any knowledge of the plot and calling for an end to “rumour-mongering” and “innuendo“.
Aussie captain Tim Paine revealed that the bowlers had then spoken to Bancroft for ‘clear the air’ talks.
“I think they’re frustrated that it keeps popping up but I think that’s part and parcel for everyone who played in that Test match,” Paine told reporters in Hobart.
“Their mood was fine, I think they’ve spoken to [Bancroft], cleared the air there and I think everyone’s looking forward to moving on. We’re all grown men and those guys have made contact with each other and sorted it out.”
Bancroft was banned by Cricket Australia for nine months for his role in the incident, while former captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were suspended for a year.
Bancroft later returned to the Test team for the 2019 Ashes, having had a spell at Durham. He has returned to the North East county this season as their overseas player, and is ‘chomping at the bit’ to get back focusing on the field, says Durham lead coach James Franklin.
"Cameron has played for the Seconds this week; he has had some good time in the middle for the Seconds and it is great to have him back,” said Franklin.
"He knows the environment well from his spell in 2019 and arrives following a successful season for Western Australia and Perth Scorchers. He is raring to go and chomping at the bit to get started.”
Bancroft came into the Durham starting XI at the expense of opener Will Young, who signed off his short spell with the county by hitting a century in the win over Worcestershire last time out. Young has left to link up with the New Zealand squad ahead of their Test series against New Zealand early next month.
Mark Wood remains with the Durham squad, as he continues his preparation for England’s Test series. The pace bowler has been included in Chris Silverwood’s first selection and could feature with Jofra Archer out injured.