Distraught Steve Smith has issued a grovelling apology through tears as he faced a press conference after being sent back home in disgrace for his involvement in the ball tampering scandal.
The 28-year-old arrived in Sydney on Thursday night after receiving a year-long cricket ban and having his multi-million dollar Indian Premier League contract ripped up.
An emotional Smith – who knew of the plan to cheat in the third Test against South Africa but failed to stand in – told reporters ‘good people make mistakes’ and accepted full responsibility.
Distraught Steve Smith (pictured) has issued a grovelling apology through tears as he faced a press conference after being sent back home in disgrace for his involvement in the ball tampering scandal
The 28-year-old arrived in Sydney on Thursday night after receiving a year-long cricket ban and having his multi-million dollar Indian Premier League contract ripped up
An emotional Smith – who knew of the plan to cheat in the third Test against South Africa but failed to stand in – told reporters ‘good people make mistakes’ and accepted full responsibility
‘Good people make mistakes and I’ve made a big mistake by allowing this to happen,’ he said.
‘It was huge error of judgement on my behalf and I’m deeply sorry.’
Smith broke down in tears several times during the press conference, as his father Peter comforted him by placing his hand on his son’s shoulder.
He said he failed as a leader by allowing Cameron Bancroft to ball tamper under David Warner’s orders in the third Test against South Africa.
‘It hurts … I’m deeply sorry. I love the game of cricket. I love entertaining young kids … I just want to say sorry for the pain I’ve brought to Australia, to the fans and the public,’ Smith said.
‘If any good can come of this and it can be a lesson to others, then I hope I can be a force for change.
Smith broke down in tears several times during the press conference, as his father Peter (right) comforted him by placing his hand on his son’s shoulder
‘I know I will regret this for the rest of my life. I’m absolutely gutted. I hope in time I can earn back that respect and forgiveness.’
Moments earlier, fellow cricket cheat Bancroft also faced a press conference in Perth.
An emotional Bancroft – who was suspended for nine months for using sandpaper to ball tamper – apologised and said he will regret the decision for the rest of his life.
‘Not a second has gone by that I have not thought about the events of last Saturday night,’ he said.
‘I wish I could turn back time, I will regret this for the rest of my life.
Disgraced cricketer Cameron Bancroft (pictured with WACA chief Christina Matthews) also arrived in Australia after being sent home from South Africa for cheating
Bancroft (pictured) – who was suspended for nine months for using sandpaper to ball tamper – faced the media at a press conference at the WACA on Thursday night
An emotional Bancroft apologised for ball tampering and said he will regret the decision for the rest of his life
‘All I can do in the short term is ask for forgiveness and hope people find it in their heart to allow me to progress on that journey. For now I will do my best to contribute to the community.’
He also admitted to lying to reporters by saying after he was caught that he used a piece of yellow tape covered in dirt to tamper, not sandpaper.
‘I lied about the sandpaper, I panicked in that situation and I’m very sorry,’ he said.
‘They don’t reflect the values that I have grown up with and it’s something I’m really ashamed of.’
Bancroft added that he is heartbroken he has given away his spot in the Test team after just eight appearances.
Bancroft said he is heartbroken he has given away his spot in the Test team after just eight appearances
Bancroft also admitted to lying to reporters by saying he used a piece of yellow tape covered in dirt to tamper after he was caught (pictured is Bancroft holding the piece of sandpaper)
He said: ‘People know I worked so hard to get to this point in my career and to know that I’ve given someone else an opportunity for free is devastating, and I know it will be a difficult journey back.’
Bancroft said he will ‘move forward’ with the sanctions imposed, but refused to rule out an appeal.
David Warner is still en route to Sydney.
Smith, Warner and Bancroft were sent home from Johannesburg on Wednesday after they conspired to cheat in the third Test against South Africa.
David Warner (pictured with wife Candice) is still en route to Sydney
In a grovelling apology, shared as a picture to his Twitter account, Warner said he took responsibility for his part in the plot to cheat during the third Test
Warner and Smith received year-long bans for their involvement in the scandal.
A CA investigation found that Warner hatched the cheating plan and ordered ‘a junior player (Bancroft)’ to use sandpaper to alter the ball’s condition.
Smith was aware of the plan but failed to stand in and prevent Bancroft from carrying it out, CA said in a statement.
The former Australian captain and Warner were set to be Australia’s highest paid players in the lucrative Indian Premier League this year and would have earned $2.4million each for the Rajasthan Royals and the Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively.
‘Mistakes have been made which have damaged cricket. I apologise for my part and take responsibility for it,’ Warner said in a statement
Both deals were this week torn up by the Board of Control for Cricket of India.
Warner is set to land in Sydney later on Thursday night, but is not expected to speak to reporters after he issued a statement via social media.
In his grovelling apology, shared as a picture to his Twitter account, Warner said he took responsibility for his part in the plot to cheat during the third Test.
‘Mistakes have been made which have damaged cricket. I apologise for my part and take responsibility for it,’ the statement read.
‘I understand the distress this has caused the sport and fans. It’s a stain on the game we all love, and I have loved since I was a boy.
‘I need to take a deep breath and spend time with my family, friends and trusted advisers. You will hear from me in a few days.’
HOW THE CHEATING SCANDAL UNFOLDED
The ball-tampering incident took place during the Saturday afternoon session in Cape Town and was picked up by TV cameras.
Sandpaper was seen in batsman Cameron Bancroft’s hands after he had worked on the ball, the opener later claiming it to be a piece of tape covered in dirt.
He was later captured taking it from his pocket and placing it down his trousers, a few moments after being spoken to by the substitute Peter Handscomb, who had come onto the field after speaking to coach Darren Lehmann via walkie-talkie.
Although the two on-field umpires, Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong of England, questioned Bancroft at the time, he produced what appeared to be a black sunglasses bag from his right pocket in way of explanation, in a bid to deceive the officials.
‘Once I was sighted on the big screens I panicked quite a lot and that resulted in me shoving it down my trousers,’ said Bancroft.
No action was taken at the time — the umpires could have changed the ball or docked Australia runs — but match officials, including referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe, were able to review TV footage of the incident.
But after the day’s play, captain Steve Smith and Bancroft admitted the ball-tampering in a press conference.
Bancroft revealed: ‘We had a discussion during the (lunch) break and I saw an opportunity to use some tape, get some granules from the rough patches on the wickets and change the condition — it didn’t work, the umpires didn’t change the ball.’
Smith continued: ‘It was a poor choice and we deeply regret our actions. The coaches weren’t involved. It was purely the leadership group who came up with this.
‘We saw this game as such an important game. We’ve seen the ball reversing through this series and this ball didn’t seem like it was going to go. It’s such poor actions. Deeply regrettable.’