BSP-03 Smith backs fellow ball-tamperer Bancroft as Durham captain

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Smith backs fellow ball-tamperer Bancroft as Durham captain

SYDNEY, April 7, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Shamed former Australia captain Steve
Smith has backed fellow ball-tamperer Cameron Bancroft as an astute choice to
skipper English county side Durham after his appointment raised eyebrows.

Smith, Bancroft and David Warner were all banned over the scandal involving
sandpaper to alter the ball in South Africa last year, but are now back
playing.

While Warner was also barred from ever holding a leadership role again and
Smith prevented from doing so for 12 months after his one-year suspension
expired, Bancroft was free to assume a captaincy.

Durham appointed him last month, insisting he was “the best available
option” despite criticism from some quarters, including former English bowler
Darren Gough who slammed it as “disgraceful”.

But Smith said Bancroft had shown “great character” in the way he handled
his ban and return to cricket.

“Cam is a good choice for captain,” Smith told ESPNcricinfo. “He’s got a
good head on his shoulders and has shown great character in the way he has
come back after his time out.

“It has been a tough time for him no doubt, but he’s a good guy who will do
his best for Durham and will lead them well.

“He gets the game pretty well and has a good understanding of strategy and
players,” he added.

“He’s found a bit of form with the bat and will be able to use his
experience in a positive way.”

Bancroft’s selection was controversial not just due to the cheating scandal
but also because he is missing Durham’s Championship opener to attend Western
Australia’s end-of-season awards dinner and could also be selected for
Australia’s Ashes series in England.

Durham chief executive Tim Bostock has defended his appointment.

“I think he’ll be a breath of fresh air, he’ll bring a different
perspective to leadership,” he said last month.

Bancroft is one of around 10 Australian players set to appear for English
county sides this season, including Joe Burns, Shaun Marsh and Glenn Maxwell.

BSS/AFP/GMR/0822 hrs