Durham fuming after Australia tell Cameron Bancroft he must miss start of English season to attend awards dinner – The Telegraph

Durham fuming after Australia tell Cameron Bancroft he must miss start of English season to attend awards dinner - The Telegraph

Cameron Bancroft caught in another cricket controversy, Durham

Durham signed Bancroft in July last year, taking a chance on the player when he had been ostracised by cricket following his role in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal.

The show of faith from Durham gave Bancroft a chance to rebuild his career and doing well in county cricket in England would be a massive boost for his chances of playing in the Ashes.

But he has been told by Cricket Australia and his state side Western Australia that he has to attend their end-of-season awards dinner in Perth instead of flying to England to play Championship cricket.

He has promised Durham he will leave WAs awards dinner early to try and get to this country as soon as possible but the county have resigned themselves to him not being available for the Championship season opener against Derbyshire on April 5.

Counties are often frustrated to lose overseas players to international call-ups but accept that is part of the risk, however, missing a Championship match to attend an awards dinner is a new low.

Bancroft could yet make his case for an Ashes call-up in an Australia A tour of England that will take place during the Cricket World Cup.

He was persona non grata when we signed him in July. We took a chance on him and Western Australia and Cricket Australia should recognise that fact. He recognises it and has pushed strongly to get here on time, said Tim Bostock, the Durham chief executive. We only play two Championship matches before breaking off for a block of 50-over games. Missing one match does not sound like a big deal but those two games are huge for us as we try and start the season well and look for promotion.

Bancroft signed with the club last August, when he was still serving his ball-tampering ban, in a further attempt to rebuild his career.

I can understand players missing games for international duty but to miss a game because of an awards dinner is ridiculous.

Australia are also planning an A-team tour to England this summer during the World Cup and Ashes series that will include both red ball and white-ball cricket, giving Durham another potential headache. 

But the 26-year-old is now expected to miss the opening game of the County Championship on April 5 – because of an awards night.

Bancroft has played only three first-class matches since his ban ended and his stint in county cricket is an important step in his return to cricket. Justin Langer, the Australia head coach, has offered him strong support and scoring runs on green English county pitches would put him in a strong position for an Ashes return, possibly opening the batting again with David Warner. 

I can understand players missing games for international duty but to miss a game because of an awards dinner is ridiculous.

Just as he was getting on with resuming his cricket career, Cameron Bancroft has been embroiled in a bizarre storm.

Former Australian fast bowler James Pattinson has pushed his name back into the Ashes selection frame with a stunning spell of 5 for 25 to help Victoria secure victory over New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield.

Cameron Bancroft has stayed out of the limelight as Australia debates what a World Cup outfit including Steve Smith and David Warner looks like but the most junior member of the banned trio now finds himself in the centre of a bizarre storm.

As he plays for Western Australia in its Sheffield Shield clash against Tasmania in Hobart, Bancroft has made headlines on the other side of the world because of a tense dispute between his state and English county side Durham.

According to a report in UK publication The Telegraph, Durham is blowing up the opening batsman won’t arrive in time for the start of the English domestic season after it signed him to its roster last year.

Instead, Bancroft will miss the season opener against Derbyshire on April 5 because Western Australia reportedly wants him to stay in Perth so he can attend its end-of-season awards dinner.

Durham CEO Tim Bostock said the snub was a slap in the face for the county after it handed Bancroft a lifeline when his reputation was tarnished because of his involvement in the ball tampering scandal in South Africa, which earnt him a nine-month suspension from all international and Australian domestic cricket.

“He was persona non grata when we signed him in July. We took a chance on him and Western Australia and Cricket Australia should recognise that fact,” Bostock said, per The Telegraph.

“We only play two Championship matches before breaking off for a block of 50-over games. Missing one match does not sound like a big deal but those two games are huge for us as we try and start the season well and look for promotion.

“I can understand players missing games for international duty but to miss a game because of an awards dinner is ridiculous.”

English cricket journalist Nick Hoult was scathing of the reasoning for Bancroft missing the first match of the county season, writing: “Counties are often frustrated to lose overseas players to international call-ups but accept that is part of the risk, however, missing a Championship match to attend an awards dinner is a new low.”

Bancroft returned to cricket with the Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League (BBL), where he played some crucial innings, including a superb 87 not out against the Sydney Sixers in Perth.

The right-hander, who upon returning from South Africa revealed his biggest frustration was giving someone else a chance to take his spot in the Australian team, will be desperate to wear the baggy green again as he pushes to be included in the Ashes squad heading to England later this year.

Bancroft started sensationally as he rejoined WA’s Shield side after the break for the BBL. He carried his bat and scored 138 not out in the first innings of a four-day match against NSW in Sydney, before backing it up with 86 in the second dig.

He also scored 52 against South Australia the following match but has failed twice against Tasmania, registering 27 and 22.

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