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29 Mar 2020, Edition - 1720, Sunday

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Ball-tampering scandal: Warner breaks down and apologises to wife and daughters


David Warner, teary-eyed and with a heavy voice, apologised to his family for the pain he had caused them by his part in the ball-tampering scandal that shook Australia on March 24.

Former Australia captain Steve Smith and youngster Cameron Bancroft faced the media after Day 3 of the Cape Town Test against Australia and admitted to pre-planned cheating by the “leadership group.”

However, Cricket Australia’s investigations identified Warner as the chief conspirator, who asked Bancroft to perform the tampering and even demonstrated how to do it.

Smith and Bancroft apologised in front of the media day before yesterday and when Warner sat in a packed press conference room in Sydney on Saturday, he apologised to the Australian public but broke down and lost his voice for a moment as he talked about his family.

“I want to apologise to my family, especially my wife and daughters [cries]. Your love means more than anything to me and I would not be anything without you. I am sorry for putting you through this and I promise I won’t put you in this position again,” Warner said in the press conference.

Warner said he hoped and prayed that he be bestowed with an opportunity to play for Australia once again but was aware that it may not happen again.

“It is hard to know what lies ahead but for now, it is all about the well-being of my family. There’s a tiny ray of hope that I may one day be given the privilege of playing for my country again but I’m resigned to the fact that it may never happen.

“In the coming weeks and months I’m going to look at how this happened and who I am as a man. I will seek out advice and expertise to help me make serious changes,” Warner added.

Warner’s wide Candice had come to the press conference along with him. As they entered the room for Warner to face the media, Candice kissed her husband before settling down at the back of the gathering and saw her husband being scrutinised.

Day before yesterday, Warner had apologised through social media for his action on the third day of the Cape Town Test and had said “you will hear from me in a few days.”

Upon arrival in Sydney, Warner had said the same in a brief conversation with the media at the airport and said, “As you can understand, it has been a tough, emotional time for my wife and kids. At the moment, my priority is to get these kids in bed, and rest up and get my mind a bit clear so I can think, and talk in a couple of days.”

In the press conference, Warner was repeatedly questioned if anyone else had a part to play in the scandal apart from the trio of him, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft. However, Warner stuck to “I am here to take responsibility for my part” and refused to say anything more.

“I’m here to take full responsibility for my part in this and I will do anything to earn back the respect of the Australian public. It’s extremely regrettable, I’m sorry. I just want to move on from this.

“We made a bad decision for our country. It is going to take a long time to get back the respect of the Australian public. I wish I was a part of the fourth Test, which is going on in South Africa.”

Warner apologised to the Australian public and his teammates “for betraying your trust in me.”

“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. “To my teammates and support staff, I apologise for my actions and I take full responsibility for my part in what happened on day three of the Newlands Test.

“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 that I fully support your review into the culture of the Australian cricket team.

“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.

“To all Australians, whether you’re a cricket fan or not, I apologise for my actions. I’m sorry for the impact those actions have had on our country’s reputation. I can honestly say I have only ever wanted to bring glory to my country by playing cricket. In striving to do so, I have made a decision which has had an opposite effect and it’s one that I’ll regret for as long as I’ll live,” Warner confessed.

Warner was banned for a year by Cricket Australia for his role in the cheating row that erupted in Cape Town last week. He was also barred from playing IPL 2018 after he had stepped down as captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft, the other cricketers involved in ‘Sandpapergate’, were also sanctioned by CA. Smith was banned for a year and was stripped of captaincy while Bancroft was banned for nine months.

Coach Darren Lehmann also resigned and said the fourth Test against South Africa at the Wanderers would be his last assignment.

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