Warner apologises for 'stain on the game'
David Warner, identified by Cricket Australia as a central figure in the ball-tampering scandal, has has issued his first public statement since the events of the Cape Town Test, apologising for "the distress he has caused the sport and its fans".
"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," Warner said via a statement on Twitter on Thursday morning. "I apologise for my part and take responsibility for it. I understand the distress this has caused to 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."
Later on Thursday, after landing in Sydney, Warner was the only one of the three players banned for ball-tampering to not speak at a press conference. "As you can imagine it has been a tough and emotional time for my wife and the kids at this present time. You'll hear from me in a couple of days," he said at the airport, accompanied by his family. "At the moment my priority is to get these kids in bed and rest up and let my mind get clear, so that I think and talk to you in a couple of days."
On Wednesday, Warner was banned from international and domestic cricket by CA for 12 months and was also been barred from assuming any kind of leadership position in Australian cricket in the future. His IPL contract was also cancelled for the 2018 season and his personal endorsement deals have taken a hit with electronics brand LG and kit manufacturer ASICS severing ties.
This was the fallout of the ball-tampering incident that took place on Saturday during the third Test against South Africa at Newlands. Television cameras had caught Cameron Bancroft rubbing a foreign substance on the rough side of the ball - the opposite side which a player usually shines. The coach Darren Lehmann then sent out a message through 12th man Peter Handscomb, following which Bancroft shoved a yellow object down his trousers, prompting scrutiny from the match officials.
At the post-day press conference, Bancroft and the captain Steven Smith admitted to ball-tampering with sticky tape in an effort to generate reverse swing and said "the leadership group" had known about the plan beforehand. After an investigation into the matter by CA's head of integrity, Iain Roy, Warner, who was vice-captain at the time, was charged with "development of a plan to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball and instruction to a junior player to carry out a plan to take steps to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball using sandpaper."
A day before the findings of the investigation came to light, there were reports that the Australian players wanted Warner out of the team and that the CA management was equally keen to see the back of him.