Premier Cricket

Bancroft cleared for Premier return

WA clubs clear way for suspended opener Cameron Bancroft to play Premier Cricket

Dave Middleton

14 May 2018, 09:27 PM AEST

Cameron Bancroft has been cleared to play Premier Cricket in Western Australia while serving his suspension for ball tampering in South Africa.

Bancroft was tonight granted special dispensation to turn out for his club side Willetton after the 16 WA Premier Cricket clubs held an extraordinary general meeting to vote on the opener's future.

The vote was carried 14-2 after a ballot following a half-hour debate by members of the Western Australia District Cricket Council. 

Bancroft did not attend the meeting, and was instead practising yoga as the meeting went on, according to WACA chief executive Christina Matthews.

"I'm pleased to announce the Western Australia District Cricket Council tonight approved Willetton's application for an exemption to the rule that prevented Cameron from playing Premier Cricket this season," Matthews said.

"It was strongly debated across a number of areas, but ultimately approved. It's great news for Cameron and I'd like to congratulate the WADCC on their decision.

"They were put in an awkward position by the sanctions in the first place and a lack of understanding of the rules that applied across Premier Cricket in Australia. But it's good news for Cameron tonight.

"It was about a half-hour discussion. I think everybody knew the questions they wanted to ask and were prepared to sit and talk about them, and a positive outcome for all."

Bancroft is serving a nine-month suspension from state and international cricket for his role in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.

That Cricket Australia ban ends in late December, at which point Bancroft will be free to play for WA, the Perth Scorchers and Australia again. The opener was retained by WA on the state contract list and can join teammates at pre-season training next month.

However, under WADCC rules, any CA ban automatically extends to WA's Premier Cricket ranks.

The 25-year-old has now been granted an exemption to play for his WA club side Willetton while serving his CA ban.

Matthews said the debate against allowing Bancroft an exemption was not personal to the opener.

"It was the fact that there's been other players who have had to serve out sanctions when sanctioned by Cricket Australia in other competitions," Matthews said.

"So it's just reasonable debate and discussion about why it wouldn't apply in this circumstance and how the circumstances were different."

WADCC rules differ to other states, which do not automatically enforce CA sanctions for their Premier competitions. Fellow banned Test players David Warner and Steve Smith are free to play with their NSW Premier Cricket sides in Sydney while serving their 12-month CA suspensions.

Bancroft has retained his WA and Perth Scorchers contracts, and will be free to join in at training when pre-season starts in June.

Matthew said the WACA expected to finalise the opener's community service commitments soon. As part of their CA sanctions, all three banned Test players must perform 100 hours of community service. 

"Like anybody he has his ups and downs but overall, I think he is in a pretty good space," Matthew said.

"He's not far off starting his community service, we have some things lined up for him there and we'll hopefully finalise those this week.

"He's really committed to doing that in a genuine and authentic way, and not just a box-ticking way."

New Australia coach Justin Langer has already said he'd welcome the return of Bancroft, Smith, and Warner when their CA bans end.

Bancroft could yet return to cricket in the Northern Territory's Strike League in July.