Former Australia captain Ian Chappell minced no words and thrown his weight behind fast bowler Pat Cummins to be considered as the next person to replace Tim Paine as Australia’s Test captain. Chappell believes even if a new investigation into the 2018 ball-tampering scandal revealed that the bowlers might have known about the plot, Cummins should get the preference over batting maestro Steve Smith for Australian captaincy after incumbent Paine retires. Also Read - IND vs NZ: Kevin Pietersen Takes Dig at ICC Over Scheduling of WTC Final in Southampton, Suggests Another Venue For 'Incredibly Important Match'

The 77-year-old 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 backward. It’s time to look ahead, not in the rear-vision mirror,” Chappell told Wide World of Sports. Also Read - INDW vs ENGW 2021 Match Report: Debutants Sneh Rana, Shafali Verma Secure Thrilling Draw For India Women Against England in One-Off Test

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. Also Read - WTC Final IND vs NZ Match Report: Virat Kohli, Openers Give India Early Advantage Against New Zealand on Day 2 in Southampton

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.

Chappell stated that it was Smith’s responsibility to stop his teammates from tampering the ball and giving him back the Test captaincy will be like going backwards.

“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. In a recent interview, the out-of-favour opener said that bowlers being involved in the scandal was “self-explanatory”. Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Marsh were the bowlers used by Australia in the match which South Africa had won by 322 runs.

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.