Durham chief executive Tim Bostock has insisted the club has signed “an outstanding young man” after handing disgraced Australia batsman Cameron Bancroft a chance to rehabilitate himself.
The 25-year-old will head for Chester-le-Street as the club’s overseas player for 2019 after completing a ban following his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal which rocked world cricket earlier this year.
Coming at the end of a week during which Durham and England all-rounder Ben Stokes had been acquitted of affray, it left Durham in the spotlight, but well aware of its responsibilities.
Bostock told Press Association Sport: “It’s not a responsibility we take lightly at all.
“He (Bancroft) is an outstanding cricketer – that’s the first thing – he’s actually an outstanding young man. I have been living in Australia for a period of time, I’ve got lots of Australian friends, the guys in our changing room, they know him.
“We have done some due diligence around Cameron as a character – we do that around all of the players that we sign, to be perfectly honest. It’s very important that they fit into the dressing room and they fit into the Durham way of doing things.
“He’s an incredibly professional guy, hard-working, and I think he will set the right example for the younger guys, as well as some of the older guys as well.
“The time he’s had off has been very sobering for him. He certainly realises he’s made a huge mistake.
“He’s been punished for that, quite rightly. Cameron is looking forward to getting back out on the field – that’s where his real passion is, playing cricket.”
Bancroft was handed a nine-month suspension for attempting to alter the condition of the ball with sandpaper during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town with captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner receiving 12-month bans.
Durham made no mention of the scandal in their press release announcing the opener’s capture, but Bostock was adamant the club had done their homework.
He said: “It’s purely a cricket decision. Everybody makes mistakes and he was punished for it, and obviously he has served that suspension.
“It was a cricket decision, but as I said earlier, it’s important that we look at the character of individuals as well and we’re very happy that Cameron will add an awful lot to our dressing room in the right sort of way.
“He’s incredibly keen. He’s been, obviously, very frustrated, but he understands completely the reasons why he’s been restricted to playing club cricket.
“He’s doubly determined to rehabilitate himself, if you like, and not just by scoring runs. I think he really wants to demonstrate he actually is a fine young man, and we know he is.”