Sydney: Former Test vice-captain David Warner said he realised he may never play for his country again as he tearfully apologised Saturday over a ball-tampering scandal which has had deep repercussions for Australian cricket.
As stand-in captain Tim Paine signalled a new approach with a pre-match handshake between the teams at the fourth Test in Johannesburg, Warner became the third disgraced Australian player to make an emotional appearance in front of media.
The usually pugnacious batsman, 31, repeatedly struggled to talk and tears ran down his face as he apologised to fans, team-mates, his family and the Australian public.
But he also evaded questions about whether the ball-tampering plot was his idea, whether it was the first time, who else was aware of it and whether he had been made a scapegoat.
Warner, 31, told a media conference in Sydney: “I can honestly say I have only wanted to bring glory to my country through playing cricket.
“In striving to do so I have made the decision which has had the opposite effect and it’s one that I will regret for as long as I live.”
Warner’s appearance comes after similar heartfelt apologies from opening batsman Cameron Bancroft and captain Steve Smith, who broke down when he faced the media on Thursday.
Coach Darren Lehmann, convinced to step down after seeing the anguished statements from Bancroft and Smith, was also tearful as he announced his resignation.
Smith and Warner were banned from international and domestic cricket for a year and Bancroft was suspended for nine months after the incident during the third Test in Cape Town.
Bancroft was caught on camera trying to use yellow sandpaper to alter the ball, an offence which triggered an outpouring of criticism from home and abroad against the hard-nosed Australian team.