Why Cameron Bancroft agreed to cheat
WACA CEO Christina Matthews has spoken about why she believes Cameron Bancroft agreed to tamper with the ball in Cape Town earlier this year.
The West Australian was hit with a nine-month ban for his role in the cheating scandal which rocked Australian cricket. The opening batsman used sandpaper to rough up one side of the ball then tried to hide his guilt when quizzed by the on-field umpires.
Bancroft was playing just his eighth Test when he was embroiled in the controversy along with Steve Smith and David Warner, and was yet to cement his spot. He'd only reached 50 three times and was averaging just over 30 when his career was put on hold.
Matthews said a desperation to belong, and the pressure of an inexperienced player having to comply with Warner and Smith, left him unsure about what option to take and cost him his spot in the team.
"He was only an eight-Test player, he was new into the team and I think he was widely seen as much a victim as a perpetrator in the whole thing," Matthews told SEN.
"I think he was naive and desperate to belong, so he was caught in a position of, 'What do I do?'
"That's the real indictment that when your captain kind of knows what's going on and doesn't stop it and your vice-captain's involved, you say, 'Well where do I go?'
"He said and we have said the whole time his responsibility was to say no but for whatever reason he felt that he couldn't."
Warner has been widely painted as the ringleader in the operation who coerced his younger opening partner to do the deed, while Smith was at fault for wilfully ignoring the situation when the plan was being hatched in the dressing room.
The senior players were rubbed out of state and international cricket for 12 months while Bancroft's ban ends on December 29. Smith and Warner have been playing in T20 tournaments around the world as well as playing for their club sides in Sydney, while Bancroft went up to play in the Northern Territory and has been captaining his team in Perth Premier Cricket.
He'll be keen to reignite his career for the Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League this festive season and take the first step towards regaining his spot in the national team.
"As each day in December passes his smile gets broader and broader," Matthews said.
"He's probably had an easier road than the other two because he's been very set and we've been very set about how to go about it so he hasn't chased tournaments around the world.
"He's kind of making a normal progression back into it."
Matthews sat next to Bancroft when he returned to Australia from South Africa to face the press and is confident he has learnt from his mistake. After having done everything right since accepting his suspension, Matthews believes the 26-year-old will get back to his best.
"He's done everything he can since to take responsibility and make the most of it so I think he's learnt a lot about himself and what he stands for and he'll be forever - I don't know if embarrassed is the right word - but he'll forever have to live with it no matter how good his career is or how bad his career is," Matthews said.
"But there's no doubt he'll bounce back."