Former Australia captain Ian Chappell has welcomed BCCI’s decision to impose IPL bans on Steve Smith and David Warner for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal that hit the cricketing fraternity last week. Chappell reckons that this move is a blessing in disguise for the tainted duo as they won’t have to face the wrath of 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. It's also a welcome occurrence if it's a sign that the BCCI is cracking down on bad behaviour under its jurisdiction," Chappell wrote in 'ESPNcricinfo'.
"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," he further added.
The 74-year-old also lambasted Cricket Australia and the ICC for allowing the players to behave disgracefully for so long.
"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," Chappell wrote.
On Wednesday (March 28), Cricket Australia had banned former captain Smith and vice-captain Warner for 12 months, while rookie opener Cameron Bancroft was handed a 9-month suspension from international cricket.
Besides the proposed sanctions, CA had also stated that each one of the convicted trio will have to complete 100 hours of community service before being considered for future selection. While Smith and Bancroft will have to wait two years before they are considered for leadership roles, Warner will never again be considered for captaincy as he was found to be the instigator of the plan. Smith, Warner and Bancroft are still eligible to compete in club cricket, however, they can’t take part in state or international games for the duration of their bans.
Seeing the way things have panned out in the last one week, Chappell feels strong leadership is the need of the hour to correct the image of Australian cricket.
"Cricket has been heading down a slippery slope for a while, to the point where the credibility of the game has been severely shaken. As always it's the administrators who either stuff up or are slow to react, and eventually the players suffer the consequences,” Ian Chappell wrote.
"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,” he concluded.