Smith backs fellow ball-tamperer Bancroft as Durham captain

Sydney - 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.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
loading... Live
Southampton 0
Everton 0
loading... Live
Liverpool 0
Brighton and Hove Albion 1
loading... Live
Fulham 0
Newcastle United 1
loading... Live
Crystal Palace 1
Chelsea 0
loading... Live
AFC Bournemouth 0
Brentford 0
loading... Live
Ospreys 0
Glasgow Warriors 0
loading... Live
Orlando Pirates 0
Mamelodi Sundowns 0
Voting Booth
Would you be keen to see the Springboks join the Six Nations?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes! The Northern Hemisphere is the future.
53% - 6027 votes
No! The Rugby Championship is still the pinnacle.
47% - 5289 votes
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.