Cameron Bancroft does his time, does his yoga, now for cricket

Cameron Bancroft drives through the covers Getty Images

Durham 210 for 8 (Trevaskis 54) v Sussex

Cameron Bancroft has immersed himself in yoga to detach himself from the pressures of a professional cricketer since he was one of the Australian players nabbed for ball tampering.

On his Championship debut for Durham, Bancroft barely got out of the meditation stage. Many times, Cameron, we can become so stressful that we forget moving our body is even an option. Such as making 33 from 159 balls on a testing Chester-le-Street pitch in April. A responsible innings with an undercurrent of guilt.

The responsibility of captaincy might allow him to flourish; it might load anxiety upon him. The decision has not been universally welcomed in these parts, although in Durham's defence there were no other irresistible candidates.

What is certain is he will learn a lot about himself, just as he did when, at such a young age, he became a figure of national opprobrium. He has talked of being in "a grieving phase". He has had counselling. He has sought self-improvement.

It was sandpaper rubbed on a ball, it was underhand, it deserved some form of punishment, but hell, people have shoved worse things down their trousers.

Finding fault in others has become our favourite blood sport.

As Bancroft begins the next phase of career rehabilitation in England, and - one hopes - learns not to be so judgmental on himself, he might have yearned to hit the mat for an emergency yoga session, but instead underneath his feet was the most challenging county surface in the country, one where in the past three seasons the average first-innings score has been a touch under 200.

Paul Collingwood, his predecessor as captain, a man ingrained in north-eastern life, became so used to the opposition exercising their right to bowl first here that he didn't bother to take a coin into the middle. When Dawid Malan, Middlesex's captain, requested a toss in his last Championship match, Collingwood emptied out his pockets and offered to play Rock, Paper, Scissors instead.

Reach out and fling your arms to the sky, you wanted Bancroft's yoga teacher to shout as he watched every ball suspiciously. But unless yoga teachers have started wearing overcoats and woolly hats, there was not a yoga teacher around to help him, not even one long retired.

If a yoga teacher did exist, she existed as a small, positive voice in Bancroft's mind. Cast aside the guilt and allow positive emotions to flood over you. Om. Imagine how wonderful it must be to free your body from its robot precision. Om. Experience how freeing it would feel to trust your body's movements completely, knowing it has a perfect strength and rhythm of its own. Om.

For long periods, as Sussex's attack probed away, there was not as much as a Downward Dog in sight; a Warrior 2 was but a distant dream.

Movement, Sinnerman, is the embodiment of life. Trust your body's instincts completely. That little drive through extra cover against David Wiese an hour or so ago soothed your soul. The world must sometimes feel like it's closing in, but don't worry, that's just mid-on and mid-off moving closer. Breath in and stretch to the right. Breath out and stretch to the left. Now fling your arms again through extra cover. That's right, another boundary.

Now your body is warming up, let's extend that stretch. Movement can proclaim your own existence and help you relish the feeling of being alive. Live your life intensely, physically, spiritually. Respond naturally to the ball as Wiese's outswinger curves towards you. Block out the sensation of the ball deflecting to first slip, of Chris Jordan wrapping his hands around the ball by his bootlaces.

Don't worry if you don't execute it perfectly, improvement will come.

For a batsman with eight Tests behind him, and ambitions to play in the Ashes, Bancroft did not entirely come to terms with English pitches in a spell at Gloucestershire. He has spent time saying he is a better person now, as he feels he must, but it is time to put all that behind him and concentrate on becoming a better cricketer.

There was one entertaining innings played at Emirates Riverside on the first day: a maiden Championship 50 in only his third first-class game for Liam Trevaskis, who likes a square drive and whose path was eased by Bancroft's wearing down of Sussex's attack. Trevaskis is 19, from over the Pennines in Cumbria, and as far as we know has never sandpapered a cricket ball. Life is a lot easier that way.

Sussex 4th innings Partnerships

1st8PD SaltTJ Haines
2nd8LWP WellsTJ Haines
3rd83S van ZylLWP Wells
4th112LJ EvansS van Zyl
5th1BC BrownS van Zyl