Steve Smith apologised for his sins and sought forgiveness before breaking down in tears addressing the ball-tampering affair that cost him the Australian cricket captaincy and millions of dollars in earnings.
Less than 24 hours after being banned from international cricket for one year, the fallen star cried on several occasions during an emotion-charged press conference upon his return from South Africa on Thursday night.
"To all of my teammates, to fans of cricket all over the world and all Australians who are disappointed and angry, I'm sorry," Smith said reading from a prepared statement.
"What happened in Cape Town has already been laid out by Cricket Australia.
"Tonight I want to make clear that as captain of the Australian cricket team, I take full responsibility. I made a serious error of judgement and I now understand the consequences.
"It was a failure of leadership, of my leadership. I'll do everything I can to make up for my mistake and the damage it's caused.
"If any good can come of this, if it can be a lesson to others then I hope I can be a force for change.
"I know I will regret this for the rest of my life. I'm absolutely gutted. I hope in time I can earn back respect and forgiveness."
Declaring his time wearing the Baggy Green "a privilege and honour", the 28-year-old said cricket was "the greatest game in the world".
"It's been my life and I hope it can be again," Smith said while offering no indication as to whether or not he would appeal his year-long suspension.
"It's been my life and I can hope it can be again."
While many pundits have expressed doubts that the ball-tampering affair in Cape Town was a one-off incident, Smith made it clear that he had never encountered anything like it previously on his watch.
"To my knowledge, this has never happened before," he said.
Australia's youngest Test captain since Kim Hughes, who also broke down in tears while announcing his resignation in 1984, Smith said he was especially devastated for children who had idolised him - and for his parents.
His advice to young players in the game was to think deeply about making any questionable decisions as a cricketer.
"I love entertaining young kids. I love kids wanting to play the great game of cricket that I love," he said.
"Any time you think about making a questionable decision, think about who you're affecting.
"You're affecting your parents and to see the way my old man's been .... and my mum, it hurts."
Smith's father Peter offered a consoling hand on his son's shoulder repeatedly during his six-minute appearance - before Australia's greatest batsman since Don Bradman was unable to go on.
"I just want to say I'm sorry for the pain that I've brought to Australia and the fans and the public. It's devastating and I'm truly sorry," he said before the conference was shut down.
In addition to his hefty ban, Smith has already lost lucrative sponsorships with Sanitarium and the Commonwealth Bank and also had his $2.4 million IPL deal with the Rajasthan Royals torn up.
While Smith and suspended opener Cameron Bancroft both fronted press conferences upon their arrivals back home, sacked vice-captain David Warner released a statement via Twitter before briefly talkers to reporters in Sydney.
"As you can understand, it's been a tough and an emotional time for my wife and the kids," Warner said while escorting his wife Candice and two young daughters from the airport.
"At the moment, my priority is to get these kids in bed and rest up and let my mind be clear so I can think and talk to in a couple of days."