Somerset cancel Bancroft deal in wake of ball-tampering scandal
Somerset have confirmed Cameron Bancroft will no longer be joining them as their overseas player for 2018 in the wake of the ball-tampering fiasco.
The opening batsman was banned for nine months by Cricket Australia (CA) for his part in the scandal, which saw Bancroft attempt to rough up the ball with a piece of sandpaper on day three of the third Test against South Africa at Newlands.
CA suspended Bancroft from all international and Australian domestic cricket until the new year, while captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were each handed 12-month bans.
It was confirmed earlier on Thursday that head coach Darren Lehmann would resign following the fourth and final Test at the Wanderers, which begins on Friday, and as the fallout from the saga rumbles on, Somerset announced their decision to cancel Bancroft's deal.
"Over the last few days, cricket has been over shadowed by a very dark cloud," read a statement from the county's director of cricket Andy Hurry.
"There has been an understandable amount of emotion, deliberation, varying degrees of language and opinions across the game, the public and the various media platforms all associated with the alteration to the condition of the ball by Cameron Bancroft during the third Test in Cape Town.
"Cricket Australia, following their investigations, have offered sanctions to those involved.
"We as a club have been monitoring this process closely, alongside gathering as much additional information as we can. I have spoken numerous times to Cameron since last Saturday, he has spoken very maturely, he shared his deep regret and apologised to everyone associated to the club.
"It's important we remember there is a young man at the centre of all this, he made a poor choice, as I and I'm sure many of us have done during our lives. What's important now, is Cameron is given the appropriate support. There is no doubt in my mind, he will learn from this and he will return stronger.
"I have met this morning with the CEO, club captain and head coach and with the club's best interests at the centre of our decision can confirm Cameron Bancroft will not be our overseas player for the 2018 season.
"We are currently undertaking the process to recruit a replacement overseas player that best fits our needs and will share an update in due course."