An emotional Steve Smith broke down repeatedly as he took full responsibility for the ball-tampering scandal, saying he is simply gutted right now and would regret the incident for the rest of his life.
"I made a serious error of judgement and I now understand the consequences. It was a failure of my leadership. I will do everything I can to make up for my mistake and the damage it has caused," he said.
"To all of my teammates, to fans of cricket all over the world and to all Australians who are disappointed and angry. I'm sorry," a tearful Smith said in a five-minute press conference after being sent home in disgrace from South Africa.
"If any good can come of this, I hope I can be a force for change. I know I will regret this for the rest of my life. I am absolutely gutted. I hope in time I can earn back respect and forgiveness," he added.
"I don't blame anyone. I'm the captain of the Australian team. It's on my watch and I take responsibility for what happened last Saturday," he said referring to the incident during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.
Smith and vice-captain David Warner were slapped with one-year bans for plotting the episode in which Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera pulling out sand paper to scruff up the ball. —Agencies