Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Distraught Smith breaks down as he accepts blame for cheat scandal




Distraught Smith breaks down as he accepts blame for cheat scandal

Cricketer Steve Smith reacts at a press conference at Sydney airport on Thursday after returning from South Africa where he was embroiled in a ball-tampering scandal in the third Test. AFP
Cricketer Steve Smith reacts at a press conference at Sydney airport on Thursday after returning from South Africa where he was embroiled in a ball-tampering scandal in the third Test. AFP

Distraught Smith breaks down as he accepts blame for cheat scandal

Distraught former Australian cricket captain Steve Smith accepted full responsibility on Thursday for a ball-tampering scandal that has shaken the sport, breaking down in tears while denying it had ever happened before.

Cricket Australia have banned Smith and David Warner from all international and domestic cricket for a year, while opening batsman Cameron Bancroft was exiled for nine months over attempted cheating during the third Test in South Africa

Smith, a golden boy compared to Donald Bradman for his batting exploits, was a broken man at an emotional press conference on his arrival back in Sydney from Johannesburg.

“I take full responsibility. I made a serious error of judgement and I understand the consequences. It was a failure of leadership,” he said, choking back tears as he was comforted by his father Peter.

“I know I will regret this for the rest of my life. I am absolutely gutted. Cricket is my life and hope it can be again. I’m sorry. I’m absolutely devastated.”

Smith’s fall from grace has been dramatic – and fast.

He was jeered as he made his way through Johannesburg airport on Wednesday, surrounded by police and media with concerns over his mental state in the current rabid climate and coach Darren Lehmann calling for all three men to be “given a second chance”.

Former great Shane Warne, no stranger himself to controversy, offered the trio an olive branch despite days of a harsh and judgemental Australian public baying for blood.

“What the public wants to see is change. They want to see you be a better person,” he wrote in a column for the Sydney Daily Telegraph. “They’ll support you if they see that, and they’ll forgive you.”

‘Warner: ‘Stain on the game’

Warner, a divisive figure who was charged with developing the plot and instructing Bancroft to carry it out, also broke his silence to say sorry and admit his actions had been “a stain on the game”.

“Mistakes have been made which have damaged cricket,” he told his 1.6 million Instagram followers as he made his way back to Sydney.

“I apologise for my part and take responsibility for it.

“It’s a stain on the game we all love and I have loved since I was a boy,” he added.

In handing out their tough punishment, cricket chiefs bowed to uproar at home where sportsmen and women are held in high esteem and expected to act in the best interests of the game.

Bancroft: ‘I ask forgiveness’

An emotional Bancroft said he was ashamed of himself when he arrived back in Perth.

“All I can do in the short term is ask for forgiveness,” he said, while denying he had ever tampered with a ball before, in comments echoed by Smith.

“I have made a big mistake for allowing this to happen,” said Smith.

“This is the first time I have seen this happen and it will never be happening again.”

Smith – the world’s No1 Test batsman – was charged with knowledge of the potential ball-altering plan, while Warner was charged with developing the plot and instructing Bancroft to carry it out.

CA said Bancroft, who has played just eight Tests, had illegally attempted to “artificially alter the condition of the ball using sandpaper”.

It added that Smith had continued to try to cover up the cheating plot by issuing “misleading public comments regarding the nature, extent and participants of the plan”.

In a further blow, it ruled Smith and Bancroft would not be considered for team leadership positions until a minimum of 12 months after the end of their suspensions, and Warner will never lead again.

While they are banned from top-level cricket, they can still play at club level in Australia or in other countries.

Lehmann remains in charge because Cricket Australia said he was unaware of what was going on.

Wicketkeeper Tim Paine will take over the Australian captaincy for the fourth and final Test starting in Johannesburg on Friday, with Matt Renshaw, Glenn Maxwell and Joe Burns drafted in as replacements.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • Phnom Penh underpass opens to ease traffic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a temporary opening of the 488m underpass at the Chaom Chao roundabout in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, which was recently completed to connect traffic from National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd. The move is to reduce

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from