Cameron Bancroft has 'unfinished business' at Durham

The controversial Aussie opener is heading back to the North East for this year’s County Championship

Durham batsmen Cameron Bancroft acknowledges the applause after his match-winning unbeaten century after the Royal London One Day Cup match between Durham and Leicestershire at Emirates Riverside in April 2019.

Australia batsman Cameron Bancroft will return to Durham with unfinished business to complete, according to the county's director of cricket Marcus North.

The 28-year-old opener played nine County Championship matches for the club in 2019 before being called into his country's Ashes squad.

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And North revealed Bancroft is relishing the opportunity to pick up where he left off when he heads back to Chester-le-Street in May.

Scott Borthwick has returned to Durham and will captain the side.

North said: "When I've spoken to Cameron over the last couple of years – obviously he would have been here last year, but due to Covid, we didn't have the overseas players – he very much has that language that he's a Durham player and he's got unfinished business back here.

"That is really exciting, having an overseas player coming back and having that desire not just to do well for himself, but most importantly do well for Durham and make sure Durham is playing well."

Bancroft is playing for Western Australia and will head for England once his domestic season is over, mirroring the journey he first made two years ago, although in very different circumstances.

At that point, he was rebuilding his reputation after serving a nine-month ban for his part in Australia's ball-tampering scandal during their tour of South Africa.

He scored 726 runs at an average of 45.37 in the County Championship and added 377 more at an average of 94.25 in the One-Day Cup, captaining the side in both formats, and his impending return is eagerly-anticipated.

North said: "In the short period of time that we had him in 2019, he scored a lot of runs for us, made hundreds – which is key – and had a period of leadership with us through a very difficult time for him coming back into cricket.

"It was an excellent impact before he got called up for the Ashes, so to have that player as an overseas player that's going to come and be available – once he gets here – for the remainder of the season, who knows what Durham is about, knows our culture, knows our players, knows what it means to play for Durham, is great for us and is equally exciting for Cameron."

Bancroft will not be the only familiar face at the Emirates Riverside this season with all-rounder Scott Borthwick also back among the fold after a four-year spell with Surrey, where he won the County Championship in 2018.

North said: "To have a guy that's come back to Durham who has won County Championships for Durham, has been lucky enough to go away and win it at another county in Surrey, to have that player come back with that experience, clearly knowing what it takes to win and be competitive at the highest level in county cricket, is invaluable.

"To come along with that is his performances with the bat and the ball, we're really happy with how we're taking shape and we're excited about that."

Durham announced on Wednesday that 27-year-old Warwickshire all-rounder Alex Thomson had joined the county on a two-month loan deal.