Soon after expressing his guilt and pain in an emotional press conference in Sydney on Thursday (March 29), Steve Smith has made a personal apology to his devastated nine-year-old fan named ‘Darcy’ for his role in the ball-tampering scandal.
Smith’s shattered fan is a son of Channel Nine presenter Deborah Knight, who took to micro-blogging site Twitter to reveal the condition of Darcy while watching Smith's tearful media conference. Knight said that she had to console her son for 20 minutes as he was constantly crying after seeing his favourite cricketer in tears.
Having seen Knight's post on Twitter about Darcy, Smith sent a direct message to the newsreader, asking her to apologise to her son on his behalf.
"Could you please apologise personally to your son for me. Sorry that I made him upset also," Smith wrote.
Overwhelmed with the former Australian captain’s message, Knight retorted: “Thank you so much or making contact Steve. My son wants you to know he admires you even more than he did before for the way you are handling yourself in all this. You are loved and admired and we know you will emerge from this stronger than ever. Heal and spend time with your family. Xx”.
“I’m glad I’ve got his support. Thanks a lot” Smith further replied.
Addressing the media at Sydney Airport after returning from South Africa, Smith had broken down saying that the ball-tampering scandal is a failure of his leadership.
“I want to, as captain of the Australian cricket team, I take full responsibility. 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,” Smith had said.
“I made a serious error in judgement. It was a failure of leadership, my leadership. I will do everything I can to make up for my mistake and the damage it’s caused. If any good is to come from this it can be a lesson for others and 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,” he added.
Cricket Australia on Wednesday (March 28) announced a severe punishment on Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft for their involvement in this disgraceful scandal. CA banned Smith and Warner for 12 months, while Bancroft was handed a 9-month suspension from international cricket.
In its statement, Cricket Australia had also mentioned that each player will have to complete 100 hours of community service before being considered for future selection. While Smith and Bancroft will have to wait two years before they are considered for leadership roles, Warner will never again be considered for captaincy as he was found to be the instigator of the plan.
Just a day after the scandal, Smith was handed a one-match suspension and fined 100% of his match fee by the ICC while Bancroft was penalized 75 percent of his match fee and awarded three demerit points for breaching Level 2 of the ICC Code of Conduct.