Sydney: Teary-eyed Steve Smith issued a public apology soon after his arrival in Sydney following the ball-tampering saga, which took place on March 24 in Cape Town on Day three of the third South Africa versus Australia Test, and rocked the cricketing fraternity.
"To all of my teammates, to fans of cricket and to all Australians who are disappointed and angry, I'm sorry," said Steve Smith.
"What happened in Cape Town has already been laid down...I want to make clear, as captain of the Australian cricket team, I take full responsibility. It was a failure of my leadership," added an emotional Smith as he addressed the media at the Sydney airport.
While Warner is said to be the instigator and Cameron Bancroft was the one who executed the plan, Smith's knowledge and failure to stop the plot, led to his 12-month ban.
Smith hoped that he can be a force for change and he will regret what transpired at Newlands for the rest of his life.
"If any good can come from this, is the lesson to others, I hope I can be a force for change. I know I'll regret for the rest of my life. I'm gutted. I hope in time I can earn back respect and forgiveness," said Smith before saying "sorry".
An emotional Steve Smith said he is "devastated" and the entire incident "was a huge error of judgement".
"I've been so privileged and honoured to represent my country and the Australian cricket team. I'm sorry and I'm absolutely devastated," said Smith, who won't be able to captain the country for next two years.
Smith, who has built a reputation of being one of the best modern-day batsmen, once again said that the ball-tampering in Cape Town was a one-off and it had never happened before under his leadership and it won't happen again.
" I've made a big mistake by allowing this to happen. It was a huge error of judgement. To my knowledge, this has never happened before. I can assure you it'll never be happening again," said Smith, taking responsibility of what transpired in South Africa.
"I don't blame anyone. I'm the captain. It was on my watch. I take responsibility," said Smith.
Smith, who tried his hard to hold back tears, ended the press conference on an emotional note.
Heartbreaking. Steve Smith has broken down delivering a message to young Aussie cricket fans. pic.twitter.com/l14AsvAhXz— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) March 29, 2018
“To the kids...any time you think about making a questionable decision, think about who you're affecting. You're affecting your parents. To see the way my old man's been... and my mum. It hurts," concluded Smith.
Watch the Steve Smith press conference here:
Watch LIVE: Steve Smith addresses the media after returning home to Sydney https://t.co/ljh0A32bMh— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) March 29, 2018