New Delhi: Australia captain Steve Smith and Vice-captain David Warner have been banned for a year for ball-tampering. The banned cricketer cried when reporters asked about how recent events had impacted his mum and dad and the message he would send to children who love the sport.
The trio had already been sent home from Australia’s tour – before a fourth Test begins on Friday – amid widespread condemnation. The former captain was booed at the airport by South African fans while trying to catch a plane to Australia. Disgruntled fans were heard chanting “cheat” while the trio entered the airport.
Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had said the affair “bitterly disappointed the whole nation”.
Smith, 28, and Cameron Bancroft, 25, have also been suspended from captaining Australia for at least the next two years. Bancroft, who carried out the cheating in South Africa, was given a nine-month ban by Cricket Australia.
Warner, 31, will not be considered for “any team leadership positions in the future”, Cricket Australia said.
According to the investigation, Smith was found to have directed “that evidence of attempted tampering be concealed on the field of play” which means that he told Bancroft to conceal the sandpaper in his trousers.
The former captain was also found to have “misled match officials and others regarding Bancroft’s attempts to artificially alter the condition of the ball and misleading public comments regarding the nature, extent, and participants of the plan.
In an emotional appeal disgraced former Australia captain Steve Smith pleaded forgiveness from fans and Australian public in an emotional appeal.
“To all of my teammates, to fans all over the world, and to all Australians who are disappointed and angry, I am 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,” he said.
He said that he had learned his lesson and that it was a serious mistake on his part to tarnish the image of Australia and the game.
“I made a serious error of judgment and I now understand the consequences. It was a failure of leadership…my leadership. I’ll do everything I can to make up for my mistake and the damage it has caused. If any good can come of this, it would be a lesson to others and I hope I can be a force of change,” he said.
Smith vowed to earn back the respect and forgiveness.
“I know I’ll regret this for the rest of my life. I am absolutely gutted. I hope in time I can earn back the respect and forgiveness. I have been so privileged and honored 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 am sorry and I am absolutely devastated,” he said.
Smith, Warner and Bancroft will also serve 100 hours of “voluntary service in community cricket” and can appeal against the suspension.