Sydney: An emotional Australia batsman David Warner on Monday said he let the country down but had people who stuck with at all times, reflecting back on the Sandpaper Gate that forced him into a 12-month ban.
Warner and Ellyse Perry won the Allan Border Medal and Belinda Clark Medal respectively, making it the third such win for each at the Australian Cricket Awards on Monday.
"I know I've let you guys down in the past. It's just been remarkable to come back. With the World Cup, to not go the whole way was disappointing. The Ashes, retaining that was fantastic - I obviously didn't turn up and I apologise for that - but I really had the hunger and determination to come back and do the best for our team," Warner was quoted as saying by www.foxsports.com.au.
"To come back and have a summer like that and just contribute, it really put a smile on my face - and I hope it did for you guys as well."
Warner said those 12 months away from the game "really hurt" as he missed cricket badly.
"Having three daughters at home, looking up to guys like (Steve Smith) 'Smithy', (Pat Cummins) 'Cummo' - playing cricket in the backyard they're yelling out Virat Kohli's name - but these are the smiles on kids' faces that we put on.
"To go back there and be able to be reintegrated into grassroots, go back to grade cricket, put a smile on people's faces that way - it really helped me get to where I am today.
"Without that, getting cricket taken away from you - something I've always dreamt of - it really, really hurt."
Warner said Australian cricket was moving in the right direction. "If I move forward into being reintegrated, it's obviously been a fantastic 12 months for the Australian cricket team - men and women. I think we're moving in the right direction, we've got great leaders at the top, obviously from the CEO down to the two captains and Meg (Lanning) - you do a great job, fantastic and sitting on the sidelines you don't realise how good of a job you guys do."
Warner also hoped the money raised at Bushfire Bash charity fundraiser match can contribute to the damage caused to wildlife and families due to the bushfires.
"Obviously there were lives lost, wildlife lost and a lot of people's homes have been trashed as well, so hopefully a little bit of the support that went down yesterday - and we raised a lot of money - can contribute to rebuilding that for you out there," he said.