Former skipper Ian Chappell has backed premier fast bowler Pat Cummins over batting maestro Steve Smith for Australian captaincy after incumbent Tim Paine retires.
Chappell’s views are in contrast to Paine, who recently said he will have no qualms about former skipper Smith returning to the job whenever he chooses to retire.
“I think it’s time to move on. To me if you go back to Smith, you’re going backwards. It’s time to look ahead, not in the rear-vision mirror,” Chappell told Wide World of Sports.
He also feels Cummins’ prospects of leading Australia in future should not be dented even if he was aware of any plans to tamper with the ball during the infamous 2018 Test match against South Africa in Cape Town.
The ball-tampering fiasco had led to a review of Australia’s win-at-all-cost team culture besides one-year ban on then captain Smith, his deputy David Warner and a nine-month suspension for Cameron Bancroft.
During an interview, Bancroft had hinted that other bowlers might have known about the plot that saw him and two others — Smith and Warner — pay a huge price.
“If people start jumping up and down about Pat Cummins captaining Australia if he knew, well the answer is pretty clear, because it falls back on Smith,” Chappell said.
“He’s (Steve Smith) the bloke who should have stopped it. The captain’s got the overall say and power to stop it, and he didn’t. I don’t think it should count against Cummins, even if they decide the bowlers did know.
“Smith is the bloke who should have made sure the whole thing never started,” added Chappell.
Bancroft’s recent statement on the infamous episode has once again brought the ball-tampering issue under the spotlight.
During the Test at Newlands in March 2018, Bancroft was caught by television cameras of trying to rough up one side of the ball with sandpaper.