29 Mar 2018

Tearful Australian captain Smith publicly apologises

10:20 pm on 29 March 2018

Australian cricket captain Steve Smith has apologised in a live televised press conference over ball tampering in a test match against South Africa.

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Photo: Steve Smith, left, captain of Australia with team mate David Warner. AFP

He and vice-captain David Warner were banned from playing for a year over the scandal.

Smith grew tearful, saying he took full responsibility and apologised to the team and fans.

"I made a serious error of judgement and I now understand the consequences. it was a failure of leadership, of my leadership," he said.

"I'll do everything I can to make up for my mistake and the damage it's caused.

"If any good can come of this, if it 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 priviledged and honoured to represent my country and captain the Australian cricket team," he said.

"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.

Smith cried on several occasions during the media conference in Sydney and had to be ushered from the room shortly after saying how he'd let down his father.

While many pundits have expressed doubts that the ball tampering affair in Cape Town was a one-off incident, Smith made it clear that he had never encountered anything like it on his watch.

Warner earlier apologised on social media, saying via Instagram mistakes had been made and he took full responsibility for his errors.

Warner said he understood the distress it had caused and would be taking time to think about this actions.

Cameron Bancroft, who roughed up the ball at the behest of his two teammates, was banned for nine months.

Bancroft also fronted the news media in Perth, asking "for forgiveness".

Bancroft, holding back tears, said he had time to reflect on the events in Cape Town and the punishments handed down to him by the ICC and Cricket Australia.

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