David Warner, Australia, ball-tampering
David Warner breaks down while addressing the press on Saturday (Image courtesy: AFP)

David Warner has been one of Australia’s finest cricketers in the recent times. From being tagged as a T20 specialist to rising the ladder as a Test cricketer. Warner shed off notions, re-invented himself after string of controversies, established himself as a world class cricketer before falling on the face. 

Termed as the chief instigator of the ball-tampering scandal, Warner, along with Steven Smith were stripped off their leadership positions and earned yearlong bans from Cricket Australia.

A teary Smith apologised on Thursday and on Saturday, it was Warner’s turn. Before taking the questions, Warner apologised for his role, took full responsibility of the incident and accepted the fact that he may never play for Australia again.

Excerpts:

“First of all I’d like to thank you all for coming this morning. To the fans and the lovers of the game who have supported and inspired me on my journey as a cricketer, I want to sincerely apologise for betraying your trust in me. I have let you down badly. I hope in time I can find a way to repay you for all you’ve given me and possibly earn your respect again.

“To my teammates and support staff, I apologise for my actions and I take full responsibility for my part in what happened on day three of the Newlands Test. To Cricket Australia, I apologise for my actions and the effect it has had on our game under your care and control. I want you to know that I fully support your review into the culture of the Australian cricket team. To South African players, administration and fans, I apologise unreservedly for my part in this and I am sorry. I brought the game into disrepute on your soil. South Africa is a fine cricketing nation and deserves better from its guests and deserves better from me.

“To all Australians, whether you’re a cricket fan or not, I apologise for my actions. I’m sorry for the impact those actions have had on our country’s reputation. I can honestly say I have only ever wanted to bring glory to my country by playing cricket. In striving to do so, I have made a decision which has had an opposite effect and it’s one that I’ll regret for as long as I’ll live. I do realise that I’m responsible for my own actions and the consequences that that brings. It’s heart-breaking to know that I won’t be taking to the field with my teammates that I love and have let down. Right now it is hard to know what comes next but first and foremost, is the wellbeing of my family.

“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’m resigned to the fact that that may never happen again. In the coming weeks and months, I’m going to look at how this has happened and who I am as a man. I will seek out advice and expertise to help me make serious changes. I want to apologise to my family. To my wife and daughters. Your love means more than anything to me, I know I would not be anything without you. I’m very sorry for putting you through this and I promise I’ll never put you through this again.

“Before I take questions, I want to again say thankyou, I take full responsibility for my part in what happened and I am deeply sorry for the consequences of what I was involved in. I failed in my responsibilities as vice-captain of the Australian cricket team.”

Relationship with his teammates

There were reports that Warner’s relationship with his teammates has strained since the ball-tampering saga. The likes of Warner, Smith and Mitchell Starc have grown up together, playing in New South Wales.

When asked about the present state of relationship with Smith, Cameron Bancroft and Mitchell Starc, Warner replied, “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 being able to partake in the next 12 months, not just with the rest of the team but with Steve and Cameron, because we made a decision that was inexcusable and extremely regrettable.”

Retirement has definitely crossed the mind of the 31-year-old. However, he doesn’t have firm views on the same.

“That’s something that I’ll continue to sit down with my family and weigh up all my considerations before I make any decisions,” Warner added.

Warner and Smith have also been barred by the BCCI to take part in the upcoming IPL 2018, where they were captains of Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) respectively.