'People love rehashing old scandal': David Gower says Steve Smith getting captaincy again may cause problems
Former England captain David Gower believes that becoming Australia captain once again may cause problems for Steve Smith as people would resume talking about the ball-tampering controversy. Smith was one of the three people who had faced sanctions for their roles in the 2018 Newlands Test Sandpapergate scandal that rocked Cricket Australia.
Smith, who was captain of the Australia team at the time, was handed a 12-month ban, along with vice-captain David Warner, while batsman Cameron Bancroft was given a nine-month for his role.
“People love rehashing an old scandal,” Gower told Fox Cricket’s Road to the Ashes Podcast.
“There was a lot of righteous indignation at the time, there was a severe punishment meted out to the people deemed to be guilty; year-long bans, that’s a long time. Considering the ICC said, give it a few weeks, that’ll be fine. Then Cricket Australia says, ‘no, no, no, we’re going to make an issue of this and make it a good year and strip a man of the captaincy and ban everyone else for almost a lifetime’, not quite, so I think it has been done.”
“We know he’s not going to do that until Tim Paine (retires),” Gower said.
“From my perspective, Tim’s done a remarkably good job dealing with all the fallout of from the ball tampering scandal.
“So he’s had to try and do something to restore the reputation of Australian cricket and yet keep that hard, competitive spirit that we all know so well at the forefront. That’s quite a tough balancing act.
“He’s had his own performances to worry about, of course, but I think he’s done a pretty good job, so for Tim the ultimate finish to a captaincy career would be to win the Ashes come your summer, so that would be a fitting way if he can.
“Then you’ve got some decisions to make, but I think if Steve is offered the captaincy again, or if they consider that, there will be problems because people will instantly latch on to what we’ve been talking about,” Gower further added.
“He’s proven himself a strong character since then.
“It’s all a question about what the alternatives are because if you have someone who is ready and waiting to take on the role fresh, then I think that’s probably a better idea and you let somebody like Steve keep his senior role, obviously with the Ashes at stake he’ll be trying to make the same amount of runs he made last time, and it’s potentially a better thing for him to carry on with the game, not go back to that previous life which will inevitably mean things are raked over again," he signed off.