Steve Smith breaks down, takes full responsibility for ball tampering

Steve Smith speaks on Thursday night at Sydney Airport. Photo: Janie Barrett
Steve Smith speaks on Thursday night at Sydney Airport. Photo: Janie Barrett

With his dad at his side, former Australian cricket captain Steve Smith has broken down as he faced the press in Sydney.

The 28-year-old became emotional as he spoke of his parents: “To see the way my old man's been, and my mum, it hurts.”

Earlier Smith took full responsibility for his “huge error of judgement”.

WATCH Steve Smith address the media

“What happened in Cape Town has been laid out by Cricket Australia. I want to make clear that as captain of the Australian cricket team I take full responsibility.

“I made a serious error of judgment and I now understand the consequences. It was a failure of leadership, my leadership. I will do everything I can to make up for my mistake and the damage it has caused.

“If any good can come of this,  if it can be a lesson to others, I  hope I  can be a force for change.”

Smith said he was unaware of any other ball-tampering episodes involving the Australian team.

The former Australian captain faced questions at Sydney Airport after returning from South Africa on Thursday.

Australian cricketer Cameron Bancroft addresses the media in Perth after the ball tampering scandal. Photo: Seven News

Australian cricketer Cameron Bancroft addresses the media in Perth after the ball tampering scandal. Photo: Seven News

‘It’s something I will regret for the rest of my life’

Cameron Bancroft is the first of the three disgraced Australian cricketers to speak since the Cricket Australia sanctions were revealed.

"I want to say that I'm very sorry," Bancroft said.

"I love the game of cricket and playing for my nation and my state. There is no greater pride for me. I am extremely disappointed and regret my actions. I am sorry, too, for the people who look up to me around the world, especially the kids.

The Western Australian opener received a nine-month suspension from the Australian body – three months shorter than skipper Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner.

“I understand that I have let many people down and I understand the disappointment in the broader community. Words don't mean much in these circumstances so I will focus on my actions and conduct going forward.

"All I can do in the short-term is ask for forgiveness."

Cameron Bancroft

“I just want to show how sorry I am and at the end of the day it’s my actions that I’m accountable for here. They don’t reflect on my values. It's something that I'm ashamed of and it’s something that I'm very sorry for.”

While the opportunity to appeal the ban remains available, Bancroft kept his options open.

“At the moment I've received the paperwork for my sanction and I respect the process that's going to come with that,” he said.

“I’ll work with my manager and we'll move forward with that.”

"Words don't mean much, so I will focus on my action. Not a second has gone by where I've thought about not doing it...it's something I will regret for the rest of my life."

Cameron Bancroft

Former Australian cricket vice-captain David Warner hasn’t spoken publicly but has tweeted.

Warner apologised and said he takes responsibility for the part he played in the incident involving teammate Cameron Bancroft that was caught on camera during the third Test match in South Africa.

Warner is returning to Australia after Cricket Australia investigators found him guilty of orchestrating the ball-tampering incident.

He addressed his note to cricket fans in Australia and around the world, calling his actions a “stain on the game”.

Cricket Australia Statement on investigation: March 28, 2018

Following the announcements made yesterday in Johannesburg, the Cricket Australia Board has met again today to consider the report of the investigation into the incident in Cape Town.

The key finding from the investigation was that prior knowledge of the incident was confined to three players, Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft. 

Key findings:

Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft have been charged with a breach of Article 2.3.5 of the CA Code of Conduct, namely that their conduct: 

(a) was contrary to the spirit of the game; 

(b) was unbecoming of a representative or official; 

(c) is or could be harmful to the interests of cricket; and/or 

(d) did bring the game of cricket into disrepute.

In respect of the individual players concerned, Cricket Australia advises the following: 

Steve Smith was charged with a breach of Article 2.3.5 of the CA Code of Conduct based on:

(a) knowledge of a potential plan to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball; 

(b) failure to take steps to seek to prevent the development and implementation of that plan; 

(c) directing that evidence of attempted tampering be concealed on the field of play;

(d) seeking to mislead Match Officials and others regarding Bancroft’s attempts to artificially alter the condition of the ball; and 

(e) misleading public comments regarding the nature, extent and participants of the plan

David Warner was charged with a breach of Article 2.3.5 of the CA Code of Conduct based on:

(a) development of a plan to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball; 

(b) instruction to a junior player to carry out a plan to take steps to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball using sandpaper; 

(c) provision of advice to a junior player regarding how a ball could be artificially altered including demonstrating how it could be done; 

(d) failure to take steps to seek to prevent the development and/or implementation of the plan; 

(e) failure to report his knowledge of the plan at any time prior to or during the match; 

(f) misleading Match Officials through the concealment of his knowledge of and involvement in the plan; and

(g) failure to voluntarily report his knowledge of the plan after the match

Cameron Bancroft was charged with a breach of Article 2.3.5 of the CA Code of Conduct based on:

(a) knowledge of the existence of, and being party to, the plan to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball using sandpaper; 

(b) carrying out instructions to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball; 

(c) seeking to conceal evidence of his attempts to artificially alter the condition of the ball;

(d) seeking to mislead Match Officials and others regarding his attempts to artificially alter the condition of the ball; and 

(e) misleading public comments regarding the nature, extent, implementation and participants of the plan

Summary of sanctions

The range of sanctions available to Cricket Australia under Article 2.3.5 are extensive. The CA Board determined sanctions that would be appropriate in each player’s case, following their review of the report.

The Board has considered the recommendations and determined that the following sanctions will be offered to each player in accordance with the CA Code of Conduct process.

Steve Smith

Suspension of 12 months from all international and domestic cricket

David Warner

Suspension of 12 months from all international and domestic cricket

Cameron Bancroft

Suspension of 9 months from all international and domestic cricket

All three players will be permitted to play club cricket and will be encouraged to do so to maintain links with the cricket community. 

In addition, all three players will be required to undertake 100 hours of voluntary service in community cricket. 

Leadership

Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft will not be considered for team leadership positions until a minimum of 12 months after the conclusion of their respective suspensions from international and domestic cricket. Any consideration of future leadership would be conditional on acceptance by fans and the public, form and authority among the playing group. David Warner will not be considered for team leadership positions in the future. 

Cricket Australia Chairman, David Peever said:

“As I indicated yesterday, the CA Board understands and shares the anger of fans and the broader Australian community about these events. 

“They go to the integrity and reputation of Australian Cricket and Australian sport and the penalties must reflect that.

“These are significant penalties for professional players and the Board does not impose them lightly. It is hoped that following a period of suspension, the players will be able to return to playing the game they love and eventually rebuild their careers.”

Cricket Australia CEO, James Sutherland said:

“As the Chairman has noted, the sanctions we have announced are significant for the individuals involved. That is why the process has had to be thorough to ensure that all relevant issues have been examined. 

“I am satisfied that the sanctions in this case properly reflect a balance between the need to protect the integrity and reputation of the game and the need to maintain the possibility of redemption for the individuals involved, all of whom have learned difficult lessons through these events.

“As indicated, Cricket Australia will provide more details of an independent review into the conduct and culture of our Australian men’s team in due course.” Sutherland concluded.

Summary of CA Code of Conduct process

By way of summary, the Code of Conduct process in this instance is as follows:

  • A report is lodged by the CEO with the Head of Integrity;
  • A review is completed by the Head of Integrity;
  • A Notice of Charge (in conjunction with the report) is provided to the player which includes a specific charge under the Code of Conduct and offers the proposed sanctions;
  • If the player accepts the charge and proposed sanctions, the matter is completed;
  • If the player disputes either the charge or sanction/s, there is a hearing before a CA Commissioner;
  • The player may appeal the outcome of that hearing, and if so there is a hearing before an Appeals Commissioner (who is selected from the remaining CA Commissioners).