Australia opener Cameron Bancroft says he almost quit cricket to teach yoga after receiving a nine-month ban for ball-tampering during a Test match.
Bancroft, who admitted using sandpaper on the ball in South Africa in March, was banned with Australia captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner.
He returns on 30 December, playing for Perth in the Big Bash Twenty20 League.
“You begin to become OK with the thought of never having cricket as part of your life again,” said Bancroft.
In an open self-addressed letter to himself, published in the West Australian newspaper, the 26-year-old also wrote: “Maybe cricket isn’t for you, you’ll ask yourself. Will you return? Yoga will be such a fulfilling experience.”
Bancroft also revealed the major influences of Australian coach Justin Langer and Western Australia mentor Adam Voges while he has been out.
He cited Voges asking him to justify why he should be on a pre-season trip to Brisbane with the Western Warriors Sheffield Shield team as a pivotal moment in his emotional recovery.
“On your way to present your case to your coach, you realise this is the moment when you begin to become OK with the thought of never having cricket as part of your life again,” Bancroft wrote.
“Until you are able to acknowledge that you are Cameron Bancroft, the person who plays cricket as a profession, and not Cameron Bancroft the cricketer, you will not be able to move forward.
“This will become a defining moment for you.
“While you do not look that different, on the inside you are a vastly different man to the bloke who made that mistake in South Africa,” he added.
“You know you cannot say sorry enough, but actually it is time you allow your cricket to be about what you have learnt and use this opportunity to make a great impact.”
Bancroft’s 2018 deal with Somerset was subsequently cancelled, but despite the ban, he was given special dispensation to play for Willetton in Western Australia in May.
He has also signed a deal to play for Durham in all formats of the game in 2019.
Smith and Warner were suspended for a year for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal.