Steve Smith breaks down in apology to Australian cricket fans

By @saihoops on
Steve Smith, Steve Smith banned
Axed Australian cricket captain Steve Smith is escorted by Police officers as he leaves the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa March 28, 2018. Reuters / Siphiwe Sibeko

Axed Australian captain Steve Smith broke down in tears while speaking to the media on Thursday to address his role in the ball-tampering fiasco. Smith, suspended from international and domestic cricket for a period of 12 months, took the brunt of the blame for the Cape Town Test controversy and sought forgiveness from cricket fans.

"To all of my teammates, to fans of cricket all over the world, and to all Australians who are disappointed and angry, I'm sorry. What happened in Cape Town has already been laid out by Cricket Australia. Tonight, I want to make clear that as captain of the Australian cricket team, I take full responsibility. I made a serious error of judgment, and I now understand the consequences. It was a failure of leadership, of my leadership. I'll do everything I can to make up for my mistake, and the damage it's caused," Smith said in his statement upon arriving at Sydney airport.

While Smith and former vice-captain David Warner were handed 12-month bans from Cricket Australia (CA) for their roles to tamper with the cricket ball in the just-concluded Cape Town Test against South Africa, opening batsman Cameron Bancroft was banned for a period of nine months. Bancroft was caught red-handed by television cameras while tampering with the ball at Newlands, Cape Town.

Banned Steve Smith wants to help community

CA has reportedly encouraged all three players to participate in club cricket and "maintain links with the cricket community" besides undertaking "100 hours of voluntary service in community cricket." Smith said he wanted to do everything in his power to seek forgiveness.

"If any good can come of this, if there can be a lesson to others, then I hope I can be a force for change. I know I'll regret this for the rest of my life. I'm absolutely gutted. I hope in time, I can earn back respect and forgiveness. I've been so privileged and honoured to represent my country and captain the Australian cricket team. Cricket is the greatest game in the world. It's been my life and I hope it can be again. I'm sorry and I'm absolutely devastated," added Smith, widely regarded as the best Test batsman in world cricket.

Warner, who was revealed to be the mastermind of the plot, has been handed a lifetime ban from captaining Australia. Smith and Bancroft, however, will be allowed to assume leadership roles upon serving their respective suspensions. According to the timetable, all three players should return for next year's 2019 Cricket World Cup in England.