LIVE: Steve Smith expected to speak on ball-tampering issue
Steve Smith is due to land at Sydney International Airport within the hour and speak with the media following Australian cricket’s day of shame.
Steve Smith, the now former Australian Test cricket captain is expected to speak with the media in the next 30-45 minutes in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal which erupted in South Africa during the third Test of a four-match series against the Proteas.
7.54pm – With Smith joining Cameron Bancroft in refusing to blame anyone, I will leave you with the most relevant quote.
“Good people make mistakes. I take full responsibility. It was a failure of my leadership.”
Finally, despite a peanut from some trashy FM radio show trying to inject a bit of idiocy to the press conference, I will leave you all to enjoy a forthcoming long weekend.
Australian cricket is in the midst of dark days. Things are bleak. The man whom many of us praised as a modern-day Don Bradman will be out of the game for a significant period of time. He has lost the captaincy and other will also fall on their sword for the dumb, irresponsible decision to attempt ball-tampering.
Australian cricket always comes back stronger than ever.
Nothing in the game’s past has stopped it and this will not either.
7.51pm – The Cam Bancroft interview was tough, but seeing the raw emotion of Smith there really brings home how awful this whole experience has been.
As an Australian cricket fan who has grown up in a passionate love affair with the game, and having revered Steve Smith for so long, the last few minutes was one of the most emotional experiences of my life.
The Fox Sports Australia panel are now comparing Smith’s emotional response to that of Kim Hughes. Different circumstances, but you can see the parallels in the teary, raw emotions of the whole situation.
7.48pm – Smith: “I‘m deeply sorry. I love the game of cricket.”
Smith breaks down discussing the reaction of his parents in the wake of the scandal.
“To see the way that mum and dad have been, it’s devastating and I am truly sorry.”
7.47pm – Smith declares this is the first time to his knowledge that this sort of thing has been done under his leadership. He also refuses to blame David Warner for the incident.
7.46pm – Smith is teary-eyed and clearly distraught. This is tough to watch. Regardless of what has gone on to get us to this point, this is not a pleasant experience.
7.44pm – Here we go. Former Australian skipper Steve Smith is now in front of the cameras.
Steve Smith: “I‘m sorry. What happened in Cape Town has been fully laid out by Cricket Australia. I want to make clear as captain of the Australian team I take full responsibility. It was a failure of leadership. My leadership.”
“If any good can come of this, if it can be a lesson to others, I hope I can be a force for change.”
“I know I will regret this for the rest of my life. I am absolutely gutted.”
7.36pm – Possibly the worst part of this whole sordid affair has been having to listen to Gavin Robertson for the last ten minutes. Cheers Fox Sports!
7.26pm – We expect Smith will be in front of the cameras in the next five minutes. Strap yourselves in. If Bancroft was the entrée, Smith is the main course tonight and it could be an emotional and raw few minutes. Smith had gone from a young, vibrant cricketer to the best Test batsman in world cricket and his career looks set for a shuddering halt over this scandal.
7.22pm – Ouch! Looks like good old Kmart has spoken on the whole issue. Might be a good time to grab a cheap read! Photo courtesy of Ash Lamba.
7.16pm – As you would expect, social media is ablaze with opinions and comments.
7.13pm – As ever, former England captain Michael Vaughan takes the opportunity to stick the boot in, this time via Twitter.
7.10pm – While David Warner lands in the next three hours, it is unlikely that he’ll speak publicly tonight or over the next couple of days based on the statement he posted to Instagram.
7.04pm – Steve Smith is expected to speak in the next few minutes while Dave Warner won’t land in Sydney until 10.30pm tonight.
Smith landed over an hour ago and was taken quickly out of the private eye to avoid a repeat of the horrendous scenes as he left South Africa. The former Australian captain is with his father as we speak.
7.00pm – With Cameron Bancroft putting the first emotional human face to the scandal since it really blew up, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a few out there slowly backing away from their initial heavy-handed statements.
6.55pm – While you digest Cam Bancroft’s words and wait for Steve Smith to speak, why not check out Cam Allen’s take on the whole sorry situation here?
6.52pm – WACA CEO Christina Matthews confirmed that WACA rules as they stand would prevent Cameron Bancroft from playing grade cricket in Western Australia while sanctioned by Cricket Australia.
She did add that the WACA could be open to reviewing those rules in this instance.
6.50pm – Perhaps the most telling quote from Bancroft’s brief time in front of camera is as follows:
“I panicked in that situation and it is something that I will regret for the rest of my life.”
6.46pm – A clearly dejected and upset Cameron Bancroft has left the podium after briefly speaking with the media and answering a few questions. He took responsibility for his actions and refused to agree when a reporter suggested he was pushed into the action by former vice-captain David Warner.
He confirmed he was “embarrassed” by his actions.
6.43pm – Bancroft, speaking in Perth has not commented on whether or not he was pushed into ball-tampering by David Warner and remained non-committal when asked if he would contest the severity of the charge. He also declared this was the only time he had ever engaged in ball-tampering.
“It (this whole scandal) is so big because the action of doing it is completely wrong. For me to do that in front of world cricket and to be seen breaking the laws of the game, not playing within the spirit of the game, this is how cricket shouldn’t be played. It completely compromises why we play this game.”
6.37pm – Cameron Bancroft is currently addressing the media in Perth.
“I’ve had time to reflect on the events in Cape Town and the punishments handed down to me by the ICC and Cricket Australia and I want to say I am very sorry.”
“Words don’t mean much in these situations, so I’ll focus on my actions moving forward.”
“This is something I will regret for the rest of my life. All I can do in the short term is ask for forgiveness.”
“I think through this whole experience and few days, it has been so obvious to see how important the game of cricket is to the public and to Australia. We are representations of that. For me, it has been a very big wake up call for what that means for what an amazing opportunity it is to wear the Baggy Green cap.”
“To know that I’ve given someone else an opportunity (in the side) for free breaks my heart.”
6.34pm – Cameron Bancroft has landed at Perth airport and we are expected him to speak to the media shortly. He was whisked away through a back door after landing and has been with West Australian coach Justin Langer since landing.
6.31pm – The man alleged to have masterminded the plot to ball-tamper, David Warner has released a brief statement via his Instagram account.
“To cricket fans in Australia and all over the world: I am currently on my way back to Sydney,” Warner wrote in a statement on social media.
“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 advisers.
“You will hear from me in a few days.”
The full statement can be found here.
6.30pm – The Australian Cricketer’s Association have released a statement responding to the proposed sanctions from Cricket Australia and confirming they will continue to provide welfare and legal support to the players involved.
“The ACA has called for the proposed cultural review to be fully independent and to consider all relevant factors and context surrounding these acts. The examination must also extend to CA’s response and process following Saturday’s events.”
The full statement can be found here.
6.28pm – RealSport’s Ahmad Khawaja has perfectly summed up the events of the last few days here.
6.25pm – Former Australian spinner Brad Hogg declares he thinks it’s time for coach Darren Lehmann to move on as well. Hogg says Australia needs the chance at a fresh start in terms of culture.