Spanish lessons on hold as Cam Bancroft returns to cricket
THE grieving is over and the Spanish lessons can wait — Cam Bancroft has begun his journey of redemption.
“The last couple of months have been a real rollercoaster riding the waves of grieving,” he said yesterday before flying to Darwin to kick-start his stalled career and “move forward with my life”.
“There’s been times when I’ve felt really sad, I’ve felt really angry, but overall, I’ve been really busy with a lot of things.”
Those things include learning Spanish, community work in Broome with one of Australian coach Justin Langer’s favourite charities — the Kyle Andrews Foundation — and lots of yoga.
He admits it has been tough since that infamous ball-tampering incident against South Africa at Newlands, but believes the calamity has brought calm perspective to his life.
“Personally, I’m my harshest critic at the best of times, so being able to connect at these different points of the community has given me a greater perspective, and it’s something I’ve been really grateful for,” the 25-year-old said.
“I can’t change what happened in South Africa and it’s something that I’m completely accountable for.
“But it isn’t about me, and that’s what I’ve learnt in some of my community services,” he said, referring to part of the punishment handed down by Cricket Australia.
“I rock up and I give my heart to these people and it’s not about me at all — it’s about them — and that’s the really great thing I look forward to, giving back.
“I’m not here for me, I am here for these guys.”
A day after former Australian skipper Steve Smith belted a tidy 61 for the Toronto Nationals in the Canadian T20 league, Bancroft headed north to bolster the Territory’s Strike League, which begins this month.
He said he spoke regularly with Smith and David Warner, who was out for one in his Canadian T20 debut yesterday, and they were helping each other come to grips with what had happened.
“I speak to them at least every week, whether that’s a phone call or messages, they’re obviously very busy, but they are two really great people and we’ve been looking after each other,” he said.
“I know that’s a value we hold really closely at the WACA — this idea of looking after your mates — we’ve been going through all of this together and we definitely look out for each other.”
So how have they been travelling?
“Very similarly to me. They’ve been up and down with the way they’ve been feeling — you can hear it in their voices — but you move towards the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
“It’s been a little while now since South Africa.
“It only feels like yesterday that I was having these really sad conversations with all of you, and now here I am and I’m about to play some cricket again, so I know for those guys who are playing cricket in Canada they would have felt exactly the same.”
He said he had made a conscious decision to “step back and simplify my life” at the height of the scandal — and it had paid off.
“When you’re in the media a lot, it can be really challenging to digest the different opinions — there was a lot of people saying things, but it was about my mistake and the poor decision that I made, and what anyone else thought or said, it didn’t change the fact that I made a really bad decision.”
Despite the reports of an ongoing rift between Warner and his Australian teammates, Warner, who will also play in the Territory Strike League after his Canadian stint, said he and Smith remain “good mates”.
“If people hang in the hotel they’ll see us hanging out with each other and stuff,” Warner said yesterday.
“But at the end of the day it was a big thing that happened and for us you’ve got to handle it in your individual way and handle it collectively.
“We haven’t really been able to catch up because he’s been away. Cameron (Bancroft) has been in Perth and I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing, and I’ve got family at home.”
Bancroft, a former Aquinas College student, said his family had been a pillar of strength to him.
“I’ve had a lot of times where things pop up, particularly when you’re grieving and going through some emotional responses to the events of South Africa, they’ve been there for me, they’ve listened, they’ve given me perspective and I feel as though I’ve stepped closer to moving on with my life and cricketing career,” he said.
Bancroft says cricket has always “been my path, my focus” and he never once considered walking away from the game. He wants to regain his spot back in the team, which he now knows is such an integral and celebrated part of the Australian story.
This content was originally published here.