Former Australia captain Ian Chappell welcomed the decision of Board of Control for Cricket in India’s move to impose bans on Steve Smith and David Warner in this year’s Indian Premier League following the ball-tampering scandal.
The 74-year said that the decision may have spared the the tainted duo – who are serving one year bans from international and domestic cricket – the “wrath” of the cricket-crazy Indian public.
“....While this is a severe hit to their bank balance, it may also be sparing them the wrath of the Indian public, coming as it would have done so close on the heels of the ball-tampering scandal,” Chappell wrote in his ESPNcricinfo column. “It’s also a welcome occurrence if it’s a sign that the BCCI is cracking down on bad behaviour under its jurisdiction.”
The board had barred Smith and Warner from playing in the IPL before they received lengthy sanctions from Cricket Australia for their roles during the infamous episode in the Cape Town Test.
Chappell added, “Its (BCCI) governance in recent years has been less than inspiring, and if this latest move represents a shift in attitude among cricket administrators, then the Cape Town calamity won’t have been a complete black hole.”
Chappell also stated that Cricket Australia and the ICC must cop some of the blame. “CA and the ICC have to accept some of the blame for the fact that cricketing behaviour worldwide has plummeted to these depths. They have consistently failed to halt the slide in on-field behaviour that has increasingly undermined the game’s image.”
“This is typical cricket administration – it takes a calamitous occurrence to make them react.”
The call for ‘strong leadership’
Smith and Warner, along with Cameron Bancroft, returned home in shame for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal, apologising to the nation in tearful press conferences. Chappell further said: “Cricket has been heading down a slippery slope for a while, to the point where the credibility of the game has been severely shaken.”
He said “strong leadership” is the need of the hour to correct this image but but none has been forthcoming. “As always it’s the administrators who either stuff up or are slow to react, and eventually the players suffer the consequences. In this case the remorseful players – Smith, Warner and Bancroft – have suffered an immediate backlash, but it will be the embarrassment that follows the stigma of cheating like an ever-present shadow that will cause the lingering pain.”
“Let’s hope that this instance of incredibly poor judgement proves to be a wake-up call for cricket overall and not just the three Australian players.”