A tearful David Warner apologised for his role in the ball tampering scandal that ruined his career, saying he is resigned to the fact that he may not play for his country again.
Warner broke down in tears several times as he faced the media for the first time since the ball tampering conspiracy rocked the world last week during the third Test against South Africa at Cape Town.
“To the fans and the lovers of the game who have supported and inspired me on my journey as a cricketer, I want to sincerely apologise for betraying your trust in me, Warner said during an emotional press conference.
I have let you down badly. I hope in time I can find a way to repay you for all you’ve given me and earn you respect again.
“I suppose there is a tiny ray of hope that I may one day be given the privilege of playing for my country again, but I am resigned to the fact that may never happen,” he added.
Warner alongwith his captain Steve Smith were banned for a year by Cricket Australia, while opener Cameron Bancroft was handed a nine month suspension for his role in the scandal. Warner was also barred by Cricket Australia from ever leading Australia again.
To my teammates and support staff, I apologise for my actions and take full responsibility for what happened on day three of the Newlands Test,” he said.
To Cricket Australia, I apologise for my actions and the effect it has had on our game under your care and control. I want you to know I fully support your review into the culture of the Australian cricket team.”
Warner’s comments comes after tearful apologies from Smith and Bancroft, who said he would appeal against the nine-month ban.
An emotional Darren Lehmann also announced his decision to step down as coach of Australia after the ongoing fourth and final Test against South Africa in Johannesburg.
Warner, however, didn’t mention if he would appeal against cricket Australia’s decision and also didn’t answer questions regarding his or other team mates’ role in the ball tampering scandal or if there had been any such attempts in the past.
When asked about a possible appeal ahead of Thursday’s deadline, Warner said: “That’s something that I will continue to sit down with my family and weigh up all my considerations before I make any decisions.”
Warner is considered to be the mastermind behind the scandal and was charged by Cricket Australia for developing the plot, asking Bancroft to use yellow sandpaper to tamper the ball.
When asked to elaborate the details of the plot, Warner said: “I am here today to accept my responsibility for my part and my involvement for what happened in Cape Town.
“We know what the consequences are when we make horrible decisions like this. It’s inexcusable, I am deeply sorry. I failed in my responsibilities as vice-captain of the Australian cricket team. I will do everything I can to earn back the respect of the Australian public….But in the coming weeks and months I am going to look at what has happened and who I am as a man…To be honest, I am not sure right now how I will do this, I will seek out advice and expertise to make serious changes,” he added.
His wife Candice, who had accompanied him to the press conference, also sobbed during the 10-minute interaction as she watched him from the media seats.
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’m very sorry for putting you through this and I promise I’ll never put you in this position again, Warner said.
The 31-year-old also issued apologies to the South African fans.
To South African players, administration and fans, I apologise unreservedly for my part in this and I am sorry. I brought the game into disrepute on your soil. South Africa is a fine cricketing nation and deserves better from its guests and deserves better from me.”
Warner is the most controversial of the trio as he was also involved in an ugly spat with South African wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock during the fourth day of the opening Test at Durban. He was involved in a heated exchange with de Kock and needed to be dragged away by his teammates, including skipper Smith.
(With inputs from PTI)