New Delhi: Tainted Australia skipper Steve Smith broke down during his interaction with the media at the Sydney Airport and said that he is ‘deeply sorry’ for what transpired in the Cape Town Test last Saturday. The Australian batsman was speaking to media for the first time after the trio of Smith, Warner and Bancroft were handed respective sanctions by Cricket Australia.
Smith and Warner were banned for 12 months each while Bancroft has been suspended for 9 months for ball tampering in the third Test against South Africa last week. Smith and Warner were also barred from taking part in forthcoming edition of the Indian Premier League as well by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday.
“I take full responsibility, I made a serious error of judgement and I understand the consequences. It was a failure of leadership,” he said before breaking down at a press conference after his arrival in Sydney from Johannesburg.
“I will do everything to make up for my mistake. If any good can come for this… it can be a lesson for others. I hope I can be a force for change. I know I will regret this for the rest of my life. I am absolutely gutted. Cricket is my life and hope it can be again. I’m sorry. I’m absolutely devastated,” he added.
Smith, who broke down multiple times during the course of a brief media interaction, said that the ‘biggest mistake’ that he committed was to allow ball tampering to take place under his watch. However, he went onto say that something this this won’t happen in the future.
“For me, my weakness … I have made a big mistake for allowing this to happen. This is the first time I have seen this happen and it will never be happening again. I don’t blame anyone, I’m the captain of the Australian team and I take responsibility for the actions that happened,” said Smith.
Earlier in the day, Bancroft also apologized and asked for forgiveness from the fans after returning to Australia from South Africa. The 25-year-old said, “I want to say that I am very sorry.”
“I love the game of cricket and playing for my nation and my state there is no greater pride for me. I am extremely disappointed and regret my actions. I am sorry to the people who have looked up to me around the world, especially the kids. I know I’m a role model and haven’t acted like one in this instance,” he added.