Devastated Bancroft says sorry for lying in ball-tampering scandal
Perth, Mar 28 (PTI) "I lied...and I am sorry," said banned Australian batsman Cameron Bancroft as he pleaded forgiveness for his role the "devastating" ball-tampering scandal that led to a nine-month ban on him.
Bancroft, who was caught on camera pulling out sand paper to scruff up the ball during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town, said he is disappointed with himself.
"I want to say that I'm very sorry ... I'm very disappointed and I regret my actions ... It is something I will regret for the rest of my life," the opener stated.
While Bancroft was suspended for nine months, captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were banned for a year and also stripped of their leadership roles for plotting the entire episode.
"All I can do is ask for forgiveness ... I will do my best to contribute to the community," he added.
The 25-year-old had initially denied using sand paper on the ball and apologised for lying when the scandal broke out.
"I lied. I lied about the sandpaper. I panicked in that situation and I'm very sorry ... I feel like I've let everyone down in Australia," he said.
All the banned cricketers were sent home before the fourth Test in Johannesburg and have been barred from domestic cricket at this point. However, they have been told to do 100 hours voluntary service in community cricket.
"The thing that breaks my heart the most is that I've given up my spot in the team for free. People know I worked so hard to get to this point in my career and to have given up that chance for free is devastating," he said.
Bancroft also asserted that he had not tampered with the ball before.
"I have never ever been involved in tampering with the ball (before) and it clearly compromises my values and what I stand for as a player and as a person," he said.
His eight-Test old career tarred by the infamous incident, Bancroft said he would try hard to make a comeback.
"For me to carry that out in front of world cricket and to be seen breaking the laws of the game, not playing within the spirit of the game, it's completely how cricket shouldn't be played," he said.
"It's going to be a really long road particularly for myself to earn that respect back but for me that's the most important thing," he added.
Earlier, Warner, who has been dubbed the chief plotter in the controversy, also apologised for letting down the game