David Warner breaks down over decision he will ‘regret as long as I live’
Australian cricketer admits ‘full responsibility’ for ball-tampering scandal
An emotional David Warner has issued an unreserved apology for his actions in Australia’s ball-tampering scandal, saying he made a decision that he “will regret as long as I live”.
The cricketer said he took full responsibility and repeatedly broke down as he faced the media at the Sydney Cricket Ground for the first time since being stripped of the Australian cricket team’s vice-captaincy.
He admitted he had brought the game into disrepute and apologised to fans, his family and to South Africa, which he praised as a “fine nation” that deserved better.
Warner’s wife, Candice, sobbed as she watched her husband struggle with his emotions during the press conference. Warner choked as he spoke of the consequences of the ball tampering on his family, and promised to never put them in such a situation again.
But the much-anticipated press conference left many questions unresolved. Warner gave no details about who else, if anyone, was involved, and did not shed any further light on the nature of his role in the scandal. Warner would also not be drawn on the state of his reportedly soured relationship with Cricket Australia and his team-mates.
He said he had not made any decision as to whether he would retire. He retained “a tiny ray of hope” that he would play for Australia again.
“First and foremost in my mind is the wellbeing of family,” Warner said. “In the back of my mind I suppose there is a tiny ray of hope that I may one day be given the privilege of playing for my country again, but I am resigned to the fact that that may never happen.”
Warner offered no new details about his state of mind at the time. He was asked whether the earlier sledging of his wife, which prompted its own controversy, had played a role.
“It’s tough for me to talk about where my thought space was on that day, given the circumstances of what happened in Durban,” he said. “But I am to here to take full responsibility for my actions, for the part that I played in on day three at Newlands in Cape Town.”
Warner, who was identified by Cricket Australia as the architect of the events that unfolded during the third Test in Cape Town, was handed a 12-month ban and sent home along with Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft.
The trio arrived back in Australia separately on Thursday, when Smith and Bancroft fronted the media in emotionally charged appearances, but Warner did not speak at length, pausing just to say he would have his say in the coming days.
He previously issued a statement admitting ball tampering was a “stain on the game”.
The 31-year-old has already paid a heavy financial price for his role in events on the pitch in Cape Town, losing his Indian Premier League contract while the electronics giant LG and the sportswear manufacturer Asics ended their sponsorship deals with him.
Smith, who has also lost his IPL deal, and Bancroft, have also been dumped by sponsors while Cricket Australia has also been hit hard in the pocket, with naming rights sponsor Magellan pulling out of a major deal on Thursday.
Warner said he was not surprised by the public outrage over their actions.
“I’m not surprised at all, we let our country down,” he said. “We made a bad decision. I played my part in that but, as I said, it’s going to take a long time to earn that respect back from the Australian public.”
Of his relationships with Smith and Bancroft, Warner said only: “We’re mates, we’ve grown up with each other, we’ve played on the field for a long time with each other.
“It’s going to be really tough not to partake in the next 12 months, not just with the rest of the team, but with Steve and Cameron. We made a decision that was inexcusable and extremely regrettable.” - Guardian service