Banned Australian player Cameron Bancroft on Wednesday confirmed David Warner asked him to alter the ball during the tampering scandal in South Africa and said he went along with it “to fit in”.
Bancroft was seen using sandpaper to try to rough up the ball in the Cape Town Test in March, receiving a nine-month ban from international and domestic cricket for his part in an incident that rocked the sport.
Warner and then captain Steve Smith were exiled for a year after all three were found to be involved.
A Cricket Australia investigation pointed to Warner as the mastermind and Bancroft revealed more details in an interview with former Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist on Fox Sports.
“Dave 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,” said Bancroft, whose ban runs out this coming weekend.
“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.”
At the time, Bancroft had been forging a new Australian Test opening partnership with the more experienced Warner. But he made he clear he did not consider himself a victim.
“I had a choice and I made a massive mistake and that is what is in my control,” said Bancroft, who admitted he had often pondered what would have happened if he had said no and concluded it was a no-win situation.
“I would have gone to bed and I would have felt like I had let everybody down. I would have felt like I had let the team down. I would have left like I had hurt our chances to win the game of cricket.”
‘Don’t want to know’
Last week Smith also opened up as he begins to re-emerge into public life, distancing himself from the plot while admitting he failed as a captain by turning a blind eye.
Asked what happened in the changing rooms at Cape Town before Bancroft attempted to cheat, he said: “For me in the room, I walked past something and had the opportunity to stop it and I didn’t do it and that was my leadership failure.
“It was the potential for something to happen and it went on and happened out in the field,” he added.
“I had the opportunity to stop it at that point rather than say, ‘I don’t want to know anything about it’.
“And that was my failure of leadership. And, you know, I’ve taken responsibility for that.”
Smith made no mention of Warner, who has previously apologised and accepted responsibility for his part in the scandal.
Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts said Wednesday it was time to move on.
“The events of Cape Town were investigated and dealt with some nine months ago now so there’s no new news there,” he told reporters ahead of the third Test against India in Melbourne.
“What’s important at this point is that we work with the players and with the leaders of the team on the reintegration of the sanctioned players when they become eligible for selection.”
Melbourne’s Herald Sun cited Roberts as saying Cricket Australia would take the extraordinary step of canvassing the attitude of the dressing room before allowing the banned players back.
Bancroft is expected to make his return for the Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League on Sunday, with Smith and Warner available from late March.