An emotional Cameron Bancroft has apologized and said he will forever regret his role in a ball-tampering scandal that has rocked Australian cricket and resulted in 12-month bans for team leaders Steve Smith and David Warner.
Bancroft was the first of three suspended Australian cricketers to face the media after arriving home from South Africa on Thursday. Smith is expected to hold a news conference as soon as he arrives in Sydney. Warner has issued an apology via social media.
Bancroft walked into a news conference at the WACA ground in Perth after he arrived from Johannesburg, saying he was "I am sorry for those who looked up to me... I have let many people down.
"Not a second has gone by when I wish I could turn back time. It is something I will regret for the rest of my life. All I can do in the short term is to ask for forgiveness."
Bancroft, who has only played eight tests, has been suspended for nine months.
"The thing that breaks my heart is that I have given up my spot in the team to somebody else," he said, holding back tears.
Warner, who has lost two sponsors already, posted a statement on Twitter and Instagram to say he is on his way back to Australia from South Africa and added: "You will hear from me in a few days."
"Mistakes have been made which have damaged cricket. I apologize for my part and take responsibility for it," he said. "I understand the distress this has caused the sport and its fans."
The 31-year-old opening Warner said he needs to take a "deep breath" and spend time with his family and advisers.
A Cricket Australia investigator found that Warner instructed Bancroft how to carry out the tampering with a piece of sandpaper during a break in play on the third day of the third cricket test in Cape Town.
Smith and Warner were banned from playing for Australia, or any high-level cricket in Australia, for a year. They've also been barred by Indian authorities from the lucrative IPL.
Smith lost the captaincy and won't be eligible to regain it for two years, Cricket Australia said. Warner will never again be considered for a leadership role in an Australian team.
Sporting goods company ASICS scrapped sponsorship deals Warner and Bancroft. Electronics company LG on Wednesday said it would not renew its soon-to-expire deal with Warner.
Cereal company Sanitarium on Thursday said it was ending its relationship with Smith.
Reports in the Australia media estimate the suspensions could cost Smith and Warner 5 million Australian dollars (US$3.8 million) each in lost earnings and endorsements.
The Australia Cricketers' Association has foreshadowed potential appeals by the banned players.
"There are a number of glaring and clear anomalies in the process to date which causes the ACA to query the severity and proportionality of the proposed sanctions," the ACA said in a statement.
The ACA said the grading and sanctions for the players were well above what the ICC had implemented, and the bans were not reasonable on a world scale.