‘Cheating is cheating’ – Ian Chappell slams Steve Smith’s appointment

Ian Chappell

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell was critical of Cricket Australia’s decision to appoint Steve Smith as vice-captain of the country’s Test side.

Former skipper Smith was removed from the captaincy and handed a 12-month ban following his involvement in the ‘Sandpapergate’ scandal in South Africa in 2018.

With his successor Tim Paine resigning and taking an indefinite break earlier this month over a scandal himself, which saw him send lewd messages to a former colleague, Pat Cummins has been named the new skipper.

However, Smith has made a return to the leadership group in the squad as vice-captain, as the side prepare to host England for the Ashes later this year.

According to Chappell, going back to Smith sets a dangerous precedent which should have been avoided.

“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.

While David Warner was also banned for 12 months after the ‘Sandpapergate’ saga, the opener was also banned from captaincy for life.

Smith, however, only received a two-year ban from leadership, a decision which Chappell was critical of.

Wrong example for younger players

“For starters, I have a problem – why is Steve Smith looked upon as a different punishment to David Warner?” he asked.

“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.

“Either Steve Smith has a two-year ban from captaincy and so does David Warner, or Steve Smith has a life ban and so does Dave Warner. Same thing.”

Whilst Chappell has no problem with Smith and Warner as players, he feels having them as seniors or involved with leadership sets the wrong example for younger players.

“Cheating is cheating, whether it’s big cheating or little cheating, it’s still cheating in my book,” he continued.

“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.