Australia will take on England in the upcoming five-match Ashes series, starting with the first Test from December 8 at the Gabba in Brisbane. With Tim Paine stepping down as captain following a ‘sexting’ scandal, Cricket Australia (CA) appointed fast bowler Pat Cummins as the captain of the Test side with former skipper Steve Smith named his deputy. Former Australia skipper Ian Chappell, though, feels that Smith being named vice-captain is a “controversial choice”. “Cummins is the right choice as captain. He is by far the most inspirational cricketer in Australia. If a team-mate is not inspired by Cummins’ heartfelt leadership, he’s playing the wrong grade,” Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNcricinfo.
“However, Steven Smith as vice-captain is a controversial choice. How come Smith’s leadership punishment carries a different weight to that of David Warner?” he further wrote.
“Cheating is cheating and both players indulged in the crime at Newlands in 2018. That being the case, their punishments should be identical but they are not.”
Talking about England’s chances in the series, Chappell feels that the visitors have to put on a strong show in the opening Test, otherwise Australia will have no problem in retaining the Ashes in front of the home crowd.
“This is the hardest Ashes series to decipher. First, there are the controversies to be assessed on both sides; the Tim Paine crisis and the Azeem Rafiq Yorkshire debacle. Then, neither team has played much serious cricket in the build-up and therefore it’s hard to equate the successors in each side,” .
“However, it’s still the Ashes and one team will gain an advantage over the other. It seems that England has to quickly establish their credentials at the Gabba or they will be overrun by an Australian team in the ascendant.
“England have that opportunity in the first Test. There is an unknown quantity about the pitch, Ben Stokes is making his comeback as a full allrounder, and Pat Cummins is yet to establish his captaincy credentials,” he added.
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