Australia batsman David Warner has apologised for causing “distress” to cricket fans “in Australia and all over the world” after the ball-tampering incident which has seen him banned for a year.
Warner, Test captain Steven Smith and batsman Cameron Bancroft have all been banned by Cricket Australia bosses for their part in the incident.
“Mistakes have been made which have damaged cricket,” he said.
“It’s a stain on the game we all love.”
Cricket Australia’s investigation confirmed Bancroft used sandpaper to damage the ball during the third Test against South Africa.
Smith admitted that the Aussie “leadership group” had devised a plan to tamper with the ball, and the investigation found Warner instructed Bancroft how to carry it out.
As well as their year-bans from international cricket, Smith, 28, and Bancroft, 25, have been suspended from captaining Australia for at least the next two years.
Warner, 31, will not be considered for any team leadership positions in the future, according to Cricket Australia.
All three players have been sent home from the tour.
Warner’s full statement
“To cricket fans in Australia and all over the world: I am currently on my way to Sydney.
“Mistakes have been made which have damaged cricket. I apologise for my part and take responsibility for it.
“I understand the distress this has caused the sport and its fans. It’s a stain on the game we all love and I have loved since I was a boy.
“I need to take a deep breath and spend time with my family, friends and trusted advisors. You will hear from me in a few days.”
‘I hope they will be given a second chance’
Australia coach Darren Lehmann was cleared of any involvement in the incident and has insisted he will not resign from his post.
He will lead the side in the fourth Test against South Africa, which begins on Friday in Johannesburg, but the team’s training session on Wednesday was cancelled because the players were “upset” and “hurt” by the recent events.
“There is a human side of this,” he said. “These are young men and I hope people will give them a second chance. Their health and wellbeing is extremely important to us.
“I worry about the three guys immensely. We love all of our players and they are going through a really tough time.”
England captain Joe Root, who is preparing his side for their second Test against New Zealand in Christchurch, was asked about his thoughts on the incident.
“”I think Cricket Australia has made a decision which is a bit of a statement to world cricket,” he said.
“I think it’s quite a strong message for everyone.”