Bancroft fails to deliver in return
Cameron Bancroft lasts just three balls in his return to professional cricket with Perth Scorchers
30 December 2018, 07:35 PM AEST
After nine months of yoga teaching, learning Spanish, community service and playing on suburban grounds in Darwin and Perth, Cameron Bancroft lasted three legal balls on his return to professional cricket.
Playing for Perth Scorchers in his first game in the top flight since the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal, Bancroft edged behind to young Hobart Hurricanes speedster Riley Meredith to depart for two.
The right-hander, clean shaven and cutting a familiar determined figure, had come to the crease with the Scorchers in trouble at 3-16 in the fourth over at Launceston's University of Tasmania Stadium.
On commentary for Channel Seven, Ricky Ponting said Bancroft would have either been "dreaming about this moment for nine months or having nightmares about it".
Bancroft looked comfortable on the first delivery he faced, clipping Meredith for two off his pads. The highly-rated young quick responded with a rapid bouncer and then a wide, before Bancroft got a healthy edge off the final ball of the over that was gladly accepted by Hurricanes keeper Matthew Wade.
It left the visitors in the perilous position of 4-19 after four overs. Things went from bad to worse, with the Scorchers only mustering 8-107 from their 20 overs.
Bancroft's nine-month ban for using sandpaper on a cricket ball during the South Africa-Australia Test in Cape Town expired on Sunday and the Scorchers wasted no time in slotting him back into their side.
The 26-year-old took the wicketkeeping gloves for the Hurricanes innings, snaring two catches as the hosts reeled in the modest target with 15 balls to spare.
Bancroft re-introduced himself to cricket fans by penning a letter to himself in the West Australian newspaper prior to Christmas, before Fox Cricket aired an interview conducted by former Test keeper Adam Gilchrist on Boxing Day.
Ponting, who was seen in conversation with Bancroft before play in Launceston on Sunday, questioned the purpose of both Bancroft's and Steve Smith's recent media appearances in commentary.
The Western Australian has been travelling with the Scorchers squad through the early part of the KFC Big Bash League, with teammates suggesting he's been as excited as they’d ever seen him to make his return.
While fellow banned players Smith and David Warner have played in overseas T20 leagues during their suspensions, Bancroft has been consigned to playing club cricket, firstly in the Northern Territory Strike League and then for his WA Premier side Willeton.
Bancroft will have the chance to push his case for a Test recall when he resumes his spot at the top of the order for Western Australia in the JLT Sheffield Shield in February, before beginning a stint with English county side Durham in April.