Australia's captain Steven Smith and coach Darren Lehmann should be held accountable for encouraging David Warner's aggressive on-field behaviour, former captain Ian Chappell has said.
Smith, Lehmann and the Australian wicketkeeper Tim Paine emphatically defended Warner and the way the Australian team plays, insisting the vice-captain did not enter into personal sledging of Quinton de Kock before the South African responded with a disparaging comment about Warner's wife. Chappell said a ban would be appropriate, not only for Warner but for his captain and coach.
"A suspension would be appropriate because you need to stamp it out from the top down," Chappell told Channel Nine. "But Warner gets the suspension, and while he's responsible for his own actions and words, he's being allowed to do it by people above him.
"I'd like to see those above him suspended for sanctioning it. If you start taking strong action like that then you'll get some sanity. It's always the same - the players pay the penalty for the stupidity of those above. Warner is being encouraged to be the attack dog.
"The laws of the game state the captain is responsible for the on-field actions of his players, so if Steve Smith is not stepping in he's just as culpable."
Chappell said that administrators needed to act now to prevent the onset of violence on the field. "I've been saying for 15 years that there'll be fisticuffs at some point, and it must have come close in that stairwell. It's pretty obvious to me that the more you allow to be said on the field, the higher the chance that something personal will be said, and if it gets personal, you've got a situation on your hands.
"How stupid is it, when I read before the Test that the Australians might bait Kagiso Rabada because he's close to being suspended? Surely if you're the officials and you see that, you call the coach and captain in the day before the game and explain it won't be tolerated, and the first bloke who puts a foot out of line will be suspended.
"I don't want it to sound like nothing was said on the field when I played, because things were said. But it wasn't premeditated. It wasn't discussed in team meetings beforehand. Sometimes in the heat of the moment things were said.
"I wouldn't be trying to stop gamesmanship, because that's an important part of the game of cricket, and it's responsible for a lot of the humour in the game. But the inane chatter, abuse and comments trying to unsettle players, you don't need it. Are you saying you don't have enough faith in your bowlers to take 20 wickets?"