Cameron Bancroft, who served a 9-month ban for infamously tampering with the ball in Cape Town in 2018, has sensationally confessed that the Australian bowlers ‘knew’ what was going on. None of the bowlers were punished, but Bancroft has claimed that the bowlers were aware of what he was doing.
Cameron Bancroft has dropped a huge bombshell as the Western Australian opener has revealed that the Australian bowlers were aware that the ball was being tampered with, in the Cape Town Test versus South Africa three years ago. In 2018, Bancroft, Steve Smith and David Warner were handed bans by Cricket Australia (CA) after it was found out that the trio were key architects in the ball-tampering scandal that left the country disgraced.
Bancroft was caught on camera tampering with the ball with sandpaper, but Smith and Warner, being seniors, were slapped with bans owing to them being indirectly involved in masterminding the incident. Barring the three, no Australian player came under the scanner and, though there were doubts, the bowlers, who were beneficiaries of the tampering, were given the benefit of doubt.
However, in an interview with The Guardian, Bancroft has added a new twist to the saga as the Western Australian opener has confessed that it is ‘self-explanatory’ that the bowlers were ‘aware’ of what was going on.
“Yeah, look, all I wanted to do was to be responsible and accountable for my own actions and part. Yeah, obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,” Bancroft told The Guardian when asked if the bowlers knew that the ball was being tampered with.
“Uh … yeah, look, I think, yeah, I think it’s pretty probably self-explanatory.”
The general consensus was that Bancroft was ‘thrown under the bus’, and many speculated that the person who masterminded the incident ‘manipulated’ a younger player - the Cape Town Test was Bancroft’s 8th ever Test - into cheating in the promise that he will get dressing room validation. The 28-year-old confessed that he was ‘willing to do anything’, and admitted that he lost control of his values.
“Absolutely. I grew up idolising Test cricketers and that was a dream I wanted for me. Holding that so sacred to my heart made me a little naive and vulnerable to wanting to be embraced and a part of it all. At that point I hadn’t really grasped the concept that cricket’s just a game. Yes, you’re playing for Australia. Yes, it’s Test cricket. Yes, it’s something to be really proud of. But it is just a game.
“I invested too much to the point where I lost control of my values. What had become important to me was being liked, being well valued, feeling really important to my teammates, like I was contributing something by using sandpaper on a cricket ball. That’s something I don’t think I even understood until that mistake happened. But it’s part of the journey and a hard lesson I needed to learn,” Bancroft said.
On a bittersweet note, Bancroft described the 77 he’d scored in the first innings of the very same Test as the best innings he’s ever played in his career - in any format. The 77 in the first innings of Cape Town was Bancroft’s third Test fifty, and it was an assured knock that featured a total of 14 fours.
“No doubt. The first innings in Cape Town [in the fateful ball-tampering match]. That was the best innings I’ve probably played in any form of cricket. I scored in a lot of different areas, hit  boundaries and felt able to put pressure on the South African bowlers. Off the front and the back foot, I felt really good even though we struggled to build partnerships. It was a great confidence boost against quality bowling. Rabada, Philander, [Morkel] …”