Former Australia captain Ian Chappell has criticised Cricket Australia for appointing Steve Smith as vice-captain of the Test team, three and a half years after his involvement in the Newlands ball-tampering scandal.
Chappell, who captained his country in 30 Tests from 1971-75, condemned the appointment of the man who was skipper when Cameron Bancroft used sandpaper to attempt to alter the condition of the ball against South Africa in 2018.
“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 while speaking to 2GB’s Wide World of Sports. “Cheating is cheating, whether it’s big cheating or little cheating, it’s still cheating in my book.”
“Why is Steve Smith looked upon as a different punishment to David Warner? In fact, if anything, I think Steve Smith’s crime was greater. For a captain to say, ‘I don’t want to know’ when cheating is involved, is not correct. A captain’s got to know, he’s got to find out and he’s got to do something about it”.
This is not the first time Chappell has questioned the difference in the punishments that Smith and teammate David Warner received for their involvement in the ball-tampering fiasco. While Smith was banned from having a leadership position in the team for two years, Warner was banned from any such role for the rest of his career, despite being the only player of the three involved in the incident to avoid an ICC sanction.
Chappell also suggested Paine had got off lightly after his shock resignation as Australia captain. While Paine’s participation in the upcoming Ashes series is in doubt after he took an indefinite break from cricket, the Australia team management had indicated they would like him to continue as keeper despite him stepping down from the captaincy.
“If I’d have cheated as an Australian captain – I mean I made a lot of mistakes but I didn’t cheat,” Chappell said. “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.”
Smith will act as deputy to new Australia captain Pat Cummins for the upcoming Ashes series which begins on December 8.