Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 July 2019

Durham chief defends Cameron Bancroft captaincy: 'He'll be a breath of fresh air'

Australian batsman returned from a nine-month suspension in December following his part in the infamous ball-tampering scandal in South Africa

Cameron Bancroft has signed for Durham as an overseas player and will take on the captaincy. Getty Images
Cameron Bancroft has signed for Durham as an overseas player and will take on the captaincy. Getty Images

Disgraced Australian batsman Cameron Bancroft is "the best available option" to captain Durham, the club's chief executive Tim Bostock said on Sunday.

Bancroft returned to action last December after a nine-month suspension for his role in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa which led to year-long bans for then Australia captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner. It also resulted in the resignation of Australia coach Darren Lehmann.

The 26-year-old opener will lead Durham in this season's County Championship and One-Day Cup after becoming the club's overseas signing for 2019.

Bostock also revealed Alex Lees and Ben Raine each turned down the captaincy following the retirement of Paul Collingwood.

"He's the best available option. Paul Collingwood retired last year at the age of 42, he split the role with Tom Latham from New Zealand and it left a little bit of a leadership void," Bostock told the BBC.

"We certainly considered two of our existing Durham players for the role but they didn't want to do it, they wanted to focus on their own performance, we looked at Alex Lees and Ben Raine.

"Cameron, most importantly, wants to do it. He doesn't (have a lot of experience) but neither had Joe Root when he became England captain, and I don't think Michael Atherton did either.

"I think he'll be a breath of fresh air, he'll bring a different perspective to leadership."

Bancroft was caught on camera attempting to manipulate the ball with sandpaper last March.

Bostock, who is well aware of the furore created by the incident having lived in Australia at the time, believes the player continues to feel remorse.

"I witnessed the absolute outrage in Australia and the backlash and what they put the three players through - media and also the Australian public - and it was fierce," added Bostock.

"I think there was a cultural issue that was endemic within that particular set-up at that time and, unfortunately, Bancroft should have known better.

"I'm pretty sure there's not a day goes by where he doesn't think: 'Why the hell did I do it?'

"But you can also recover from mistakes and I think he's a stronger person and a better person as a result."

Updated: March 24, 2019 04:07 PM

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