An emotional Steve Smith has broken down in tears as he fronted the media on his return home from South Africa.
The former Australian captain cried on several occasions as he addressed the ball-tampering scandal which cost him the captaincy and saw him handed a one-year suspension from the game.
“I’m sorry, Smith said in his initial statement to the assembled media.
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“As captain of the Australian cricket team, I take full responsibility.
“It was a failure of leadership, my leadership.
“I’ll do everything I can to make up for my mistake and the damage it’s caused.
“If any good can come of this, if there can be a lesson to others then I hope I can be a force for change. I know I’ll regret this for the rest of my life. I’m absolutely gutted. I hope in time I can earn back respect and forgiveness.”
Smith also addressed the rumours that this was not the first instance of ball-tampering within the side.
“To my knowledge, this has never happened before,” he said.
Smith was pulled away from the cameras as he struggled to hold back the tears when talking about the effect the scandal has had on his family.
Watch LIVE: Steve Smith addresses the media after returning home to Sydney https://t.co/ljh0A32bMh
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David Warner and Cameron Bancroft also briefly addressed the media as they touched back down in Australia.
Warner only made a brief comment to the cameras as he walked through the airport with his two daughters and wife, Candice, promising to talk more in the coming days.
“As you can understand, it’s been a tough and an emotional time for my wife and the kids,” Warner said.
“At the moment, my priority is to get these kids in bed and rest up and let my mind be clear so I can think and talk to you in a couple of days.”
Cameron Bancroft, who was handed a nine-month ban for his involvement in the plot, said he wants to earn Australia’s forgiveness.
“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. They don’t reflect on my values … and it’s something I’m really ashamed of and I’m so sorry for.”
He also apologised for initially lying about what had happened.
“Yes, I lied about the sandpaper. I panicked in that situation and I’m very sorry,” he said.
“The other really big learning curve is that I had the opportunity to take control of my own actions and values, and I didn’t. That’s a real embarrassment for me. It’s just a responsibility I completely take on myself.”