A nervous Cameron Bancroft’s return from his nine-month ban for ball-tampering did not go to plan on Sunday when he was out to the third ball he faced in the Big Bash League.
The disgraced 26-year-old was picked in the Perth Scorchers team despite only having played club cricket since he was caught trying to use sandpaper to alter the ball in Australia’s Test against South Africa in Cape Town in March.
He came in at number four after the Hobart Hurricanes had reduced the Scorchers to 16-3 and played the first ball off his pads to square leg for two.
Bancroft blocked another one before getting an edge off Riley Meredith to Matthew Wade behind the stumps.
Despite his quick exit, he was applauded by the crowd at Launceston in Tasmania as he trudged off.
Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting, who was commentating on the game, said he spoke to Bancroft beforehand and he was “really, really nervous”.
“He was a little bit worried about the pace these boys might be bowling at him as he’s only played club cricket for the past few months,” he said.
“He said to me that even going out on this wicket he’s sure everything was going feel like it’s a Test match at the WACA,” said Ponting, referring to the notoriously quick Perth ground.
Along with Bancroft, then-Australian captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner were banned for a year over their part in the tampering scandal. Their suspensions run out in late March.
Bancroft re-emerged into public life with an explosive television interview last week in which he confirmed Warner asked him to rough up the ball.
He claimed he went along with it “to fit in” and because he “didn’t know any better”.
Bancroft also said he almost gave up cricket to become a yoga teacher in the darkest days of his exile.