A visibly distraught Steven Smith has apologised for the ball-tampering scandal that has rocked Australian cricket over the past week, while breaking down in tears repeatedly during his appearance in front of media soon after his return to Sydney on Thursday.
“I want to make clear that as captain of the Australian cricket team, I want to take full responsibility. I made an error of judgement and I accept the consequences. It was a failure of leadership, my leadership,” Smith said.
“If any good can come of this and I can be a lesson to others, I hope I can be a force for change. I will regret this for the rest of my life. I’m absolutely gutted. I hope in time I can earn back respect and forgiveness. Cricket is the greatest game in the world. Its been my life and I hope it will be again.”
Smith reiterated that this was the first time ball-tampering had happened in the Australian team that he was aware of. “To my knowledge, this has never happened before. It is the first time, and it will never happen again.”
When asked if he blamed David Warner, Smith said he took responsibility. “I don’t blame anyone. I’m the captain, it’s on my watch and I take responsibility for what happened in Cape Town.
“The other thing is anytime you think about making a questionable decision, you think about whom you are affecting. You think about your parents, to see the way my old man is standing [breaks down] and my mum I’m sorry I can’t remember [the question]. I just want to say I’m sorry, sorry for the pain I’ve brought to Australia and the public.”
More to follow