“He was persona non grata when we signed him in July. We took a chance on him and Western Australia and Cricket Australia should recognise that fact. He recognises it and has pushed strongly to get here on time,” said Tim Bostock, the Durham chief executive. “We only play two Championship matches before breaking off for a block of 50-over games. Missing one match does not sound like a big deal but those two games are huge for us as we try and start the season well and look for promotion.
“I can understand players missing games for international duty but to miss a game because of an awards dinner is ridiculous.”
Australia are also planning an A-team tour to England this summer during the World Cup and Ashes series that will include both red ball and white-ball cricket, giving Durham another potential headache.
Dates for those games have not been finalised leaving counties who have signed Australian players worried they may have to find replacements at short notice.
Bancroft has played only three first-class matches since his ban ended and his stint in county cricket is an important step in his return to cricket. Justin Langer, the Australia head coach, has offered him strong support and scoring runs on green English county pitches would put him in a strong position for an Ashes return, possibly opening the batting again with David Warner.