A constitutional anomaly that may have blocked the banned Australian opener Cameron Bancroft from playing club cricket in his hometown in Perth, has been waived by the clubs. This means he can turn out for his club Willeton before he is again eligible to represent his state and country.
Alongside David Warner and Steven Smith, Bancroft was banned by Cricket Australia for his part in the Newlands ball-tampering fiasco, handed a playing suspension of nine months while his senior team-mates were sanctioned for 12. The CA charge sheet stipulated that all players were banned from playing for Australia or their states, but remained able to play club cricket.
However Western Australia club cricket regulations state that any player suspended from playing for the state side the Warriors is also barred from playing in Perth Premier Cricket. A vote of the competition's 16 clubs was required to turn this around, with a simple majority enough to allow Bancroft to play. On Monday night, 14 clubs voted in favour of letting him play, with two against.
Christina Matthews, the WACA chief executive, said the meeting was required due to a "lack of understanding" at CA about the rules regarding club cricket in Western Australia. Bancroft, Warner and Smith were interviewed and charged under the Board's code of conduct within a matter of days of the end of the Newlands Test, as CA pushed to contain the issue amid television-rights negotiations.
"They were put in an awkward position by the sanctions in the first place and a lack of understanding of the rules that applied across premier cricket in Australia, but this is good news for Cameron," Matthews said of the clubs. "Cameron more than anything wants to play cricket here.
"Like anybody he has his ups and downs but, overall, I think he is in a pretty good space. He's not far off starting his community service, we have some things lined up for him there and we'll hopefully finalise those this week. He's really committed to doing that in a genuine and authentic way, and not just a box-ticking way."
Matthews said that the debate over whether or not to waive the regulation, which took about half an hour, related largely to whether an exception should be made when other players had been forced to miss club games when suspended from WA duty. "It was the fact that there's been other players who have had to serve out sanctions when sanctioned by Cricket Australia in other competitions," Matthews said. "So it's just reasonable debate and discussion about why it wouldn't apply in this circumstance and how the circumstances were different."
Bancroft is reportedly in talks to take part in the out-of-season Twenty20 club tournament to be played in Darwin in July.