Nine months after the infamous ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town, tainted Australian opener Cameron Bancroft has disclosed that it was his opening partner and former Australia vice-captain David Warner who told him to tamper the ball.
Australian cricket was shaken to the core after cameras had caught Bancroft using a sandpaper to alter the condition of the ball during the Newlands Test against South Africa earlier this year.
In a shocking press conference after the day's play, former Australia skipper Steve Smith had admitted that the entire ball-tampering saga was a deliberate plan from the “leadership group” of the side. Subsequently, Cricket Australia had banned Smith and his deputy Warner for 12 months while Bancroft was handed a 9-month suspension from international cricket.
"Dave (Warner) suggested to me to carry the action out on the ball given the situation we were in the game and I didn’t know any better, I didn’t know any better because I just wanted to fit in and feel valued really. As simple as that.
“The decision was based around my values, what I valued at the time and I valued fitting in… you hope that fitting in earns you respect and with that, I guess, there came a pretty big cost for the mistake,” Bancroft was quoted as saying by Fox Sports.
However, the 26-year-old refused to blame anyone for his deeds.
“I take no other responsibility but the responsibility I have on myself and my own actions because I am not a victim. I had a choice and I made a massive mistake and that is what is in my control.”
Bancroft's ban is due to expire on December 29, while Smith and Warner will not be eligible to return until March 29, 2019.
The right-handed batsman further added that the incident has given Cricket Australia a "rare time to change."
“The reason why it was painful is because the truth hurts. Maybe in that review there was some truths that were pretty hard to accept.
“What does that bring? It brings an amazing opportunity to do something about it. Only Cricket Australia will know if they are being true to themselves, to be able to own up to some of those recommendations. If they can look at themselves in the mirror and be really content and be really peaceful, and proud of the direction they’re going, that’s OK.
“If they aren’t, like me, that value will always come undone won’t it? It will present itself in the face to you and you’ll have to learn another lesson,” he said.