Recalled Bancroft prepared for boos
CAMERON Bancroft was booed when he started his county stint with Durham, and even asked to sign pieces of sandpaper.
But when the going got tough, he looked at his baggy green cap, which he brought with him as motivation to complete his cricketing circle.
Banned from international cricket last March for being a ball-tamperer, after eight Tests in a row for Australia, his future in the game was as clear as mud.
The modern sporting landscape can be brutal, but also forgiving, and Bancroft has endured both.
He got back to playing the game he loved as soon as he could, as much as he could. He made runs at home in Western Australia, then put up with those boos while making hundreds as captain of Durham.
Now his baggy green has come out of his travel bags, because he's about to play for Australia again.
"Yeah I brought it. It's good motivation isn't it, to look at it and go 'yeah I'm playing cricket but there's something bigger I eventually want to be able to get back to'," Bancroft said as he soaked up his Ashes selection.
"I guess it was good motivation to keep working hard, keep training. Yeah, whenever that happened, it was out of my control. It was just a bit of inspiration and motivation to keep my goals and keep focused."
Being recalled to the Australian team, returning from one of the most significant exiles in cricket's history, would be enough to make anyone happy.
But Bancroft comes at it from a whole different angle.
He was a cricket obsessive before his ban, but spent nine months re-evaluating what was important.
"I think being serious about cricket is important but I think it's also about being able to realise the game is just a game of cricket," he said.
"There's certainly other parts of your life that you can value that are important too.
"I definitely connected with more of that last year and certainly opened up new avenues that I hadn't done before.
"They've brought a lot of enjoyment and happiness to my life, so for that it was a good experience and I'd like to think it's helped me enjoy cricket in a different way."
Enjoyment could be hard for Bancroft during the Ashes.
Boos were loud, and frequent, for Steve Smith and David Warner, members two and three of the "sandpapergate" trio, as they returned to the Australian team in the World Cup.
The haters won't hold back on Bancroft either, but it's something he has experienced already, and knows he has no control over.
"Sure, there were times when people booed or what not, or ask you sign pieces of sandpaper, stuff like that. But it doesn't faze me," Bancroft said.
"I just get on with it. It's all right. It doesn't bother me too much.
"Hopefully I can use it if people want to be like that, to give you energy to perform well. I can't control that.
He'll deal with it along with Smith and Warner too. Despite suggestions to the contrary, there is no lingering animosity between them.
"For all three of us, really, our journeys were all different. We all fought battles that were very personal and very different," Bancroft said.
"But I think understanding each other and what each other was going through was certainly something that happened.
"It's nice to be back in the side, it's nice to see Dave, it's nice to see all the boys, not just him."
Bancroft said he was a different person now, a better one, because of what he'd been through. He could be a better cricketer too.
But he knows, despite it all, he's a long way from being a finished product
"I guess until you get out there and get into the battle and really test that out, that's probably the truest opportunity to really see that," he said.
"There were definitely times when I was challenged a lot. But like anything, you go through those moments the best you can. You learn a bit about what you need to do to keep moving forward, and just take it day by day really.
"If you asked me 18 months ago if I'd be sitting here, it was probably the last thing from my mind. But it is what it is now and it's certainly really exciting."