Former Australian captain Steve Smith breaks down during Thursday morning's press conference at Sydney International Airport. Photo: EPA/BRENDAN ESPOSITO
Former Australian captain Steve Smith breaks down during Thursday morning's press conference at Sydney International Airport. Photo: EPA/BRENDAN ESPOSITO

WATCH: Tears of a cheat – Smith breaks down on arrival in Australia

By James Dutton Time of article published Mar 29, 2018

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A 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. 

'Good people make mistakes and I've made a big mistake by allowing this to happen,' he said. 

'It was a 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 a hand on his son's shoulder. 

Smith said he failed as a leader by allowing Cameron Bancroft to ball tamper under David Warner's orders.

'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.

'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.

'Any time you think about making a questionable decision, think about who you’re affecting. You’re affecting your parents.

'And to see the way my old man has been and my mum and sister … it hurts.'

The press conference was momentarily interrupted by a member of the Kyle and Jackie O Show, Peter Deppeler, who made a bizarre comparison of the cricketer's actions to reality show Married At First Sight. 

'Steve, I am going to take a different track on this one ... We asked our listeners what we thought about this and we have ... mate I've got to tell you hold your head up a little bit high for what you have done,' Deppeler said. 

'Because what has actually been worse is what Dean and Davina did on Married At First Sight.' 

Moments earlier, fellow cricket cheat Bancroft also faced a press conference in Perth.

Bancroft - who was suspended for nine months for using sandpaper to ball tamper - apologised and said he will also 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.

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. 

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.

Warner and Smith received year-long bans for their involvement in the scandal.

The 12-month bans means both star batsmen will be free to play in the next Ashes series and the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Smith is also banned from being Australia's captain for two years, while Warner is banned indefinitely from leading the side. 

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.

Both deals were this week torn up by the Board of Control for Cricket of India (BCCI). 

A BBCI senior official said the pair will be banned from the IPL as any player suspended by their host body cannot participate. 

The huge loss comes on top of Smith's $1.5 million base wage under his Cricket Australia contract and Warner's $900 000, before bonuses. 

Smith had also been the face of breakfast cereal Weet Bix, but its owner, Sanitarium, this week removed all material related to the sacked Australian skipper from its website. 

He also lost his deal with the Commonwealth Bank, while his deal with American footwear giant New Balance - which said it would wait for CA's investigation to finish before making a decision - now hangs on a knife edge.

Electronics company LG on Wednesday said it would not renew its soon-to-expire deal with Warner.

His deal with sportswear giant ASICS - along with Bancroft's - was on Thursday terminated.

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.

Australia's ball-tampering controversy was inevitable, according to their former coach Mickey Arthur.

The South African spent two years in charge of the Aussies before he was sacked on the eve of the 2013 Ashes and replaced by Darren Lehmann.

Arthur, who tried to change the culture of Australian cricket without success, admits he has been 'bitterly disappointed' by his former side's behaviour in recent years. 

'Unfortunately, it was always going to end like this', he wrote in PlayersVoice.

'Despite generational change, independent reviews and too many behavioural spotfires to list, 

"Cricket Australia and the national team had demonstrated no real willingness or desire to improve the culture within their organisation from season to season. 

'That could lead to only one conclusion. An explosion.'

Daily Mail

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