Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
It might have been the best state of mind Cameron Bancroft has experienced for some time.
Returning to first-class cricket and carrying his bat in the process made it seem he was in the form of his life.
This comes despite hardly seeing a red ball for 12 months. What a fascinating effort by a young man clearly desperate to re-ignite his career.
The assured innings wasn’t his first time impressing against a New South Wales attack, either. Many will recall scores of 76 and 86 against the entire Australian Test quartet in November 2017, one of a string of performances to help launch Bancroft to a baggy green later that month.
This innings admittedly came against a second-string bowling group, however that takes an undeserving amount of credit away from such a gritty performance. It’s worth bearing in mind too that a couple of members of this attack have bowled at Test level.
While Bancroft returns to the fold some distance from Test calculations, he made the perfect start, as a determined bloke with a point to prove.
Without covering old ground, yes he should have known better than to commit that act 11 months ago, however the vulnerability with being the most inexperienced player in the side at the time are well known.
His nine-month ban – as overkill as it may have been – has been duly served. Combined with the remorse shown and a dogged commitment to earning back respect, it’s difficult not to have a level of sympathy for him (but given we are discussing blatant cheating, I have complete understanding for those who disagree).
With a glut of opening candidates in the mix, choosing just two for an Ashes series in six months’ time is a challenge I would hate to be tasked with. Just which pair will be out in the middle at Edgbaston remains far from locked in, so the time remains to mount a strong case.
Bancroft has begun his re-integration in a most convincing way, even if plenty of work remains to jump ahead in the queue. Who knows if past runs in the English domestic scene will carry weight.
From a fan perspective, and a belief in second chances, seeing triple figures next to his name on the weekend was a most pleasant sight.