Ian Chappell: 12-month ban a favour done to Smith and Warner

According to Chappell, Smith and Warner would be spared the ignominy of being booed by the home crowd during the Australian summer.

Steve Smith (left) and David Warner were banned from cricket for 12 months by Cricket Australia.   -  AP

Ian Chappell, as usual, is brutally frank. Known for his forthright observations on any issue surrounding cricket, the former Australia captain, now a media personality, believes Cricket Australia (CA) has done Steve Smith and David Warner a favour by suspending them for 12 months.

According to Chappell, Smith and Warner would be spared the ignominy of being booed by the home crowd during the Australian summer.

He said, “Everyone is jumping about saying 12 months is too harsh, but I think they have done them a favour because next summer they won’t be playing in Australia. Just imagine Smith and Warner walking to to bat and getting booed by their home crowd next summer in Australia; that would be hard. It would not be good for Australia, for the image of the game there. I am not sure if CA wants Warner back. They were probably looking for a reason to get rid of him because he was quite outspoken during the dispute between the players and administrators last year. Knowing the history of CA pretty well, they were looking for an opportunity to get rid of Warner.”

The 74-year-old Chappell felt Australians’ outrage over the ball-tampering episode mellowed after the press conferences of the players involved in the incident. He said, “I think the feeling was really anti, when it (ball-tampering) first happened. I think that started to change, particularly when Bancroft and Smith got back home, and when the people saw how they were devastated. In fact, their remorse was genuine and I think that changed the feeling in Australia.

‘Very bad’ for cheats

“On the other hand, the worst name you can get in Australia is cheating. If you are seen as a cheat in Australia, that is bad, very bad. That will take a bit of overcoming. The biggest punishment will not be losing [Indian Premier League (IPL)] contracts, losing Cricket Australia contracts. It will be having to live their life in the public. They will find it hard when they go out in the public arena.”

India has its best chance of defeating Australia at home in a Test series when it tours the country in the 2018-19 season, believes Ian Chappell.

 

Will Smith, Warner and Bancroft find it difficult to come back and play the game? Chappell explained: “It's a matter of what it will do to their confidence, particularly in the case of Smith because confidence is a big part of the game. I am not sure if he will get that confidence back. He may get that back, but I don't think he will captain Australia again.”

Responding to Darren Lehmann’s observation that Australia should take a leaf out of New Zealand’s approach towards playing cricket, Chappell said: “He (Lehmann) should have thought about it before the event, not after. What bothers me is that you have 30 people there, 15 players and 15 support staff. Thirty people and not one thought to say ‘hang on, this is illegal, and it is bloody stupid because how do you think you can get away with it’, and no one came up with that.”

Reactive ICC

Chappell wants the International Cricket Council (ICC) to be proactive on issues related to events that shook the cricket world.

Asked about the lessons that can be learnt from the Cape Town incident, he said: “They can learn about stupidity because there was plenty of that on show in Cape Town with the Australians! The ICC has already talked about trying to strengthen the penalties for ball-tampering and also the wording on ball-tampering.

Read: Smith, Warner and Bancroft notable absentees from CA contract list

“The question I have for the administrators is ‘Why are they reactive rather than being proactive?’ That’s part of the problem with cricket administration. It takes a disaster. It is always the players who get penalised. The administrators make a mistake and the players are penalised. Obviously, I am more in favour of players than the administrators. There has been a lot of talk about what they are going to do. As usual, with the ICC, I would not hang by the neck while I am waiting for them to do something. Because, I might strangle myself.”

India’s ‘best opportunity ever’

Next summer would present India with its “best opportunity ever” of defeating Australia in a Test series at home, according to Chappell. He said, “If I was predicting, it would be an Indian victory. I don’t know if they will win comfortably, but India will win. It is certainly India’s best opportunity ever. Australia will still be hard to beat because they have a good bowling attack. To get 20 wickets is the hardest part of the game. I think the Australian bowling attack will have to start thinking like Andy Roberts — ‘it doesn’t matter what they bowl us out for, we will bowl them out for less’. Australian bowling attack will have to think along those lines because they won’t have so many runs to bowl with.”

Read: Cricket Australia secures USD 918 million for broadcast rights

For now though, players from around the world are busy playing a very different game — the IPL. Chappell believes “there are far more positives than negatives” resulting from the Twenty20 extravaganza.

He said, “Any game that is played well is worth watching. IPL has done a lot of good things to the game. Everything is not upside. There is also a downside. IPL has certainly done a lot of good things for the players. They are very well rewarded now. There are far more positives than negatives.”

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