[ALERT] Steve Smith: Ball tampering was an error of my leadership

The disgraced former captain says he doesn't blame anyone for the ball-tampering incident as he was the captain of the Australia cricket team.

FILE: Australia captain Steve Smith addressing the media following the defeat against South Africa in the second Test at Port Elizabeth. Picture: @OfficialCSA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Disgraced Australian captain Steve Smith has apologised for the ball tampering incident that occurred in the third Test match against the Proteas at Newlands in Cape Town.

A tearful Smith addressed media upon his arrival in Sydney, where he apologised to the cricket fraternity and said that the ball tampering incident was a huge failure of his leadership.

Smith and vice-captain David Warner were given one-year bans by Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland and were also barred from any leadership role for a further two years. Cameron Bancroft, the player who actually tampered with the ball, was given a nine-month suspension.

Smith said that he was hurt that he had disappointed everyone who loved the game of cricket.

“To all of my teammates, to fans of cricket all over the world and to all Australians who are disappointed and angry, I'm sorry. I take full responsibility. There was a failure of leadership. I'll do everything I can to make up for my mistake and the damage it's caused.”

Smith said that he hoped that cricketers would learn from his mistake and not harm the game.

“If any good can come of this, if there can be a lesson to others then I hope I can be a force for change. I know I'll regret this for the rest of my life. I'm absolutely gutted. I hope in time I can earn back respect and forgiveness.”

Smith also said that he didn’t blame Bancroft or anyone else in the Australian cricket team for the incident and took full responsibility for his involvement in the incident.

“I don't blame anyone. I'm the captain of the Australian team. It's on my watch and I take responsibility for what happened last Saturday.”

Tasmanian wicket-keeper batsman Tim Paine will take over the captaincy ahead of the fourth and final Test match at the Wanderers starting on Friday.