How banned Bancroft found his inner peace
CAMERON Bancroft has revealed he considered walking away from cricket altogether.
In the same week that Steve Smith re-emerged into public life, Bancroft has chosen to break his silence in the form of a letter to his former self who sat alone in his hotel room in Cape Town in the immediate wake of the ball-tampering scandal.
The banned batsman writes of his emotional journey to rediscover himself since that point as he prepares for his professional cricket comeback for the Perth Scorchers in the BBL next week.
Bancroft reveals how yoga has been his saviour over the darkest nine months of his life and suggests the fulfilment it gave him almost convinced him that he no longer wanted to play cricket.
The fallen Test batsman opens up about the major influence Australian coach Justin Langer and West Australian mentor Adam Voges have played in his personal redemption.
Voges demanded Bancroft justify why he should even be part of a pre-season camp and in doing so might have saved the 26-year-old's career.
"As the Warriors squad prepare for a pre-season trip to Brisbane, you will be told that you are not included. Yes, you won't be going, plus you can't even play!" writes Bancroft in an open letter for The West.
"V (Voges) will ask you to justify why you should go to Brisbane (for a camp). You easily write four pages of reasons - it's truly unfulfilling.
"On your way to present your case to your coach you realise this is the moment when you begin to become OK with the thought of never having cricket as part of your life again.
"Until you are able to acknowledge that you are Cameron Bancroft, the person who plays cricket as a profession, and not Cameron Bancroft the cricketer, you will not be able to move forward.
"This will become a defining moment for you.
"The yoga teacher training course in Melbourne in September helps to grow this passion of yours … most importantly you learn that you can use your life to a greater purpose.
"New friends will be made, great people with similar interests. Maybe cricket isn't for you, you'll ask yourself … will you return? Yoga will be such a fulfilling experience.
"It's hard to feel this reality could exist."
Bancroft ultimately rediscovers his love for the game when he returns to grade cricket with his junior club in Perth.
The right-hander resolves to never lose sight of the fact that he plays the game for fun.
"The Willetton District Cricket Club is where your cricketing journey began," he writes.
"The first game will give you the answer about what the game of cricket means to you.
"It's simply just fun. You wear a blue cap, it won't be a baggy green, but the enjoyment is the same. You just love the game. That is the heart of all passion.
"Cricket is still well and truly a part of who you are."
Bancroft recalls how the familiar face of Langer was there at Perth airport waiting to greet him amid the flock of cameras and media when he arrived back from South Africa.
Langer also pushed Bancroft to realise how lucky he really was and put him in touch with his spiritual side.
"A trip you take to Broome in May can be defined by words of the great Saint Francis of Assisi: "It is in giving that we shall receive", writes Bancroft.
"JL gives you a chance to be at an annual retreat with the Kyle Andrews Foundation. This foundation provides support to kids with cancer and this retreat helps those kids who don't know what their future holds gives them a short period of respite from the toxicity that can be routine hospital visits.
"Feeling this and seeing the smiles on the faces of kids who are suffering far more than you are will humble you. You learn that some people, like these kids, fight battles far greater than you can understand.
"You will forever be grateful for the energy you felt from the group of people that make up the Kyle Andrews Foundation. Seriously … I mean really grateful.
"You consider yourself to be unaffectionate - these kids will teach you otherwise. The value of a nice warm hug will surprise you and become part of who you are."