The upcoming Ashes series is due to begin on Wednesday (December 8). The build-up to the series has not been ideal with off-field controversies hogging the majority of the limelight. Days ahead of the marquee series, Wicketkeeper-batter Tim Paine resigned from captaincy following a sexting scandal. Cricket Australia (CA) were left with a short period to name the new Test skipper. They appointed pacer Pat Cummins as the captain and Steve Smith as his deputy.
Former Australia skipper Ian Chappell though feels Smith being named as the vice-captain is a controversial decision. Smith was removed from leadership following the sandpaper saga in 2018, in which David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were also involved. However, Warner was banned from leading Australia forever, while Smith was only banned from captaining for two years. Chappell has questioned the preferential treatment meted out to Smith and Warner.
“Cummins is the right choice as captain. He is by far the most inspirational cricketer in Australia. If a team-mate is not inspired by Cummins’ heartfelt leadership, he’s playing the wrong grade,” Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNcricinfo.
“However, Steven Smith as vice-captain is a controversial choice. How come Smith’s leadership punishment carries a different weight to that of David Warner?” he further wrote.
Chappell further opined that punishments should have been similar as both players were found guilty of cheating. “Cheating is cheating and both players indulged in the crime at Newlands in 2018. That being the case, their punishments should be identical but they are not.”