The sandpaper saga that changed Australian cricket
David Warner has taken full responsibility for his actions in the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town, following Cricket Australia’s decision to suspend him from cricket for one year, and also ban him from captaincy for life. Warner made a public admission on Saturday in Sydney, “apologising unreservedly” for the ball-tampering plan – executed by Cameron Bancroft with Steven Smith’s knowledge – on the third day of the Newlands Test.
When asked whether other members in the Australian team had been involved in the plan to tamper with the ball, Warner chose to deflect the question, reiterating he was here to take responsibility for his own actions. He did not answer several of the other pointed questions about the incident.
It was the first time Warner was speaking in public since the ball-tampering controversy that has rocked Australian cricket broke on March 24.
“To my team-mates and support staff I apologise for my actions. To Cricket Australia, I apologise for the effect I had on the game in your care. I apologise unreservedly and I apologise. South Africa deserves better from its guests and from me,” Warner said during an emotional press conference in which he broke down in tears. “I can honestly say I’ve only ever wanted to bring glory to my country through playing cricket. I do realise I am responsible for my actions, it’s heartbreaking to know I’ve let my team-mates down.
“In back of my mind, there’s a tiny ray of hope that I may one day play for my country again but I’m resigned to the fact that that might never happen. I want to apologise to my family, especially my wife and daughters. Your love means more than anything to me, I know I would not be anything without you. I promise you I will never put you in this position again. I failed in my responsibilities as vice-captain of the Australia cricket team. It’s going to be a decision that sticks with me for the rest of my life.
“The Australian cricket team were my family. I really regret what happened on day three, I am really going to miss this next 12 months. We know what the consequences are when you make horrible decisions like this. I really wish and hope that Steve and Cameron have the same support that I have with me, as it’s going to be a tough and emotional next 12 months.”
Warner was the most severely punished of the three players, because he was seen by CA as the central figure in plot to alter the condition of the ball using sandpaper. The board’s investigation into the incident found that Warner had come up with the idea and shown Bancroft how to execute it during the lunch interval on the third day of the Test, while Smith had knowledge of the plan and did not prevent it.
While the ICC charged only Smith and Bancroft under a level 2 offence for ball-tampering on the day they owned up to the indiscretion, Warner’s role in the affair only emerged over the following days. He was first stood down from the vice-captaincy on the fourth morning of the match – Smith was removed as captain – and then banned once CA’s head of integrity Iain Roy had flown to South Africa and completed his inquiry.
Unlike Smith and Bancroft, Warner did not hold a press conference on landing in Australia after being sent home from South Africa. He released an apology on Twitter on Thursday, saying “you will hear from me in a few days”.
More to follow
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