Tim Paine, Australia’s Test captain, recalls the series loss to India at home a few months ago. It was Australia’s only second series loss to India at home after the 2018/19 series – both the defeats came under Tim Paine, who was put at the helm in March 2018 following Steve Smith’s sandpaper gate scandal in South Africa.
The historic series win for the Asian giants came in the backdrop of several blows to the squad.
Regular skipper, Virat Kohli, had returned home to attend the birth of his child after the ’36 all out’ debacle in the first Test in Adelaide; several first-choice players were injured such that only two players – Cheteshwar Pujara and interim skipper Ajinkya Rahane – played all 4 Tests; players were subjected to racism by crowds; add to it the complications of the bio-bubble and the tussle with the Queensland government before the Brisbane Test.
Tim Paine opines that the visitors created the “sideshows” to take the Aussies’ focus away from the game. He points out that the Indian players refused to travel to Brisbane if the government subjected them to quarantine.
“Part of the challenge of playing against India is they’re very good at niggling you and trying to distract you with stuff that doesn’t really matter and there were times in that series where we fell for that,” Tim Paine was quoted news.com.au as saying.
“The classic example was when they said they weren’t going to the Gabba so we didn’t know where we were going. They’re very good at creating these sideshows and we took our eye off the ball,” he added.
Tim Paine would support Steve Smith becoming the captain again
With the series loss at home, there were questions raised on Tim Paine’s captaincy, as the Aussies failed to bowl out India in the 4th innings of the last two Tests in Sydney and Brisbane. With Steve Smith eligible to lead Australia again, and the current skipper turning 37 by the time the home Ashes commences in December, there have been calls to put Smith back at the helm.
Tim Paine says he would himself support Smith becoming the skipper again, but says that he can lead the side for 6 more Tests – 1 against Afghanistan, and 5 versus England.
“I think so. Obviously I don’t make that decision but the time I played with Steve as captain he was excellent. Certainly tactically he is as good as you get,” Fox Cricket quoted the skipper saying.
“He’s probably a bit like me when I was at the start of my captaincy journey in Tasmania — he was thrown into a very big role at a very, very young age and he probably wasn’t quite ready for it.
“But by the time I came in he was growing into that role and getting better and better. Then obviously South Africa events happened and he’s not doing it anymore. But yeah I would support him getting that job again,” he declared.
When asked how long he is expected to continue in the role, Tim Paine replied: “At least another six Tests.”