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Australia v West Indies: Ian Chappell says Steve Smith should not have tried to do deal

Ian Chappell has taken a swipe at Australian captain Steve Smith for attempting to do a deal with the West Indies in order to force a result during the Sydney Test, saying it could have brought into question the game's integrity in an age of match-fixing. 

On Thursday, Smith said West Indies skipper Jason Holder had rejected his proposal of an Australian run-chase of 370 from 70 overs on the final day of play in Sydney, which would have had to be manufactured by declarations and the hosts deliberately underperforming.

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"I would have declared 0-0 and then bowled lob-ups for seven or eight overs or whatever it is," Smith said at the post-match press conference. "For us that would have potentially been me bowling with three slips and two gullies and leaving every man up for them to try and hit as many as they can."

Chappell did not at all agree with the tactic – even though Smith checked with coach Darren Lehmann and match officials to make sure the scenario was allowed – because of the developments cricket has made in recent years to distance itself from the shady underworld of contrived results.  

Straight shooter: Australian cricket great Ian Chappell.
Straight shooter: Australian cricket great Ian Chappell. 

"I don't like it when captains get together and start to make deals," Chappell said. "I'm not sure cricket in general, not just Cricket Australia, would be all that thrilled to hear that the captain is going to another captain and trying to make a deal because in this age of fixing, I would have thought that leaves things open to a lot of problems. I've never agreed with it, even before fixing became a pretty important subject, but even more I think it's important not to do those things now." 

Chappell said he would rather see the actions of a team determine whether a result is possible. Even though Smith was in a difficult situation because his side were bowling, the former Australia skipper said there was not much he could have done. "If you want something to happen a bit out of the ordinary, if you've lost time and you want things to happen, I think your actions should show you want to do it," Chappell said. "The people who paid their money, even though they didn't on Thursday, they're entitled to look out and say: 'well, I've paid my money to watch something serious, not hit and giggle'." 

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Chappell and Tom Moody were on deck at Blacktown International Sportspark on Friday helping out with the Optus Cricket Legends small business competition. Chappell will coach a group of regular cricketers in a match at the SCG in February against Moody's star-studded side including the likes of Damien Fleming, Merv Hughes and Greg Matthews.

Asked about Australia's fast bowling stocks for the one-day series which begins in Perth on Tuesday, Chappell joked the last time he saw such an inexperienced squad of quicks was when the first one-dayer was played in 1971, because they were all making their debuts. 

Spoils of victory: Australia captain Steve Smith shakes hands with cricket great Alan Davidson as he is presented with ...
Spoils of victory: Australia captain Steve Smith shakes hands with cricket great Alan Davidson as he is presented with the Frank Worrell Trophy. Photo: AP

He expressed his frustration at James Pattinson missing out on selection, partly because of form but more as a result of workload requirements.

Chappell said it was ridiculous a bowler who was Australia's strike weapon against the West Indies would be robbed of a chance to bowl at two bowler-friendly pitches in the Gabba and WACA. 

"They are the two grounds he wants to play most on and you're going to tell him he's rested? If he's angry, I don't blame him," Chappell said. "If that's the reason [workloads] why he's not selected, it's the system gone mad. If I'd have had to go to Dennis Lillee and say: 'Mate I'm sorry, but somebody who's never played the game at any decent level has told me you've got to miss out because of workload, I would want to tell Dennis in Sydney that from Perth. I wouldn't want to be anywhere near him." 

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