Former Australia captain Ian Chappell has come down hard on Cricket Australia (CA) for appointing Steve Smith as the vice-captain of the Test team. Smith, who was initially removed from the captaincy role in 2018 following the sandpaper saga, was again reinstated in the leadership group. This time the right-hand batter will be assisting Pat Cummins, who was elevated to captaincy following Tim Paine’s resignation due to a sexting scandal.
Chappell feels CA should not have brought Smith into the leadership group after he let the whole country down during the sandpaper saga. Chappell further opined that CA has not set the right example by going back to Smith. “I wish that Cricket Australia had made a clean break, but for Cricket Australia to get anything right at the moment is asking a bit much,” Chappell said on 2GB’s Wide World of Sports radio on Saturday.
CA found David Warner, Smith, and Cameron Bancroft guilty of cheating in a Test match against South Africa. Warner and Smith were banned for one year, while Bancroft was given a nine-month suspension. Warner, who was the vice-captain of Australia, was banned from leading the team for a lifetime, while Smith was banned only for two years.
Chappell was bemused by the indifferent treatment being meted out to Smith and Warner. He feels Smith was the biggest culprit as he was the leader at that time. Warner admitted in the media that it was him who told Bancroft to use the external object on the ball, whereas Smith said he was not aware of what is going on.
Chappell feels cheating is cheating and bringing Smith back in the leadership group is not a right call. “Cheating is cheating whether it’s big cheating or little cheating, it’s still cheating in my book. If I’d have cheated as an Australian captain — I mean I made a lot of mistakes but I didn’t cheat. And if I had cheated, and if I had done what Tim Paine did, I would have expected Cricket Australia to not ask me to resign, they would have taken the job away from me and made sure I didn’t continue to play as a player,” said Chappell.