‘Banter is part of the game but abuse isn’t’: Tim Paine


MELBOURNE: The ball-tampering incident in the Cape Town Test between South Africa and Australia took place over two months ago, but with the Australian limited-overs side travelling to England, the approach of the visitors on the field has been a matter of interest, reported ICC. 

“We don’t want to be abusive by berating and belittling our opposition, like at times we’ve attempted to,” Tim Paine, the new Australian Test and one-day international captain, told Wisden Cricket Monthly in an interview.

“We want to be more respectful. Banter is part of the game but abuse isn’t. We want to be known as a competitive and hard team but we want to do it in a way that our fans and our public like. Through a really dark period is a silver lining that we get to reset that.”

Opinion has been divided on whether Australia should stick to their aggressive style of play or not, and Paine reiterated that the good-guy style might not work for his Australians.

“There are going to be times when it is going to get heated, but as Justin (Langer, the new coach) has said, ‘we know what is right and we know what is wrong’,” said Paine. “We’ve just got to stick to that. Do we want to play exactly like New Zealand? No. We want to play a way that suits our team and the individuals in our team. We want to create an environment where people can play their cricket and be themselves.”

Paine’s Test career seemed stuck after four appearances in 2010, but he has been the first-choice stumper since the start of the Ashes late last year at home. And he was at Newlands when the ball-tampering incident became big news, later resulting in bans of 12 months for Steve Smith and David Warner and of nine months for Cameron Bancroft.

“People are going to say that everyone knew, and that’s fine, but the facts are that people knew we were trying to get the ball to reverse, but how we do that is normally up to certain individuals,” said Paine, who took charge of the Australian team in that Test itself and then led them in the final Test of the series, which Australia lost 3-1.

“I remember looking around and thinking, ‘Well, who’s going to be captain?’ Then Trevor Hohns [Australia’s chairman of selectors] said it was me. So, yeah. Off we went,” recalled Paine.

In England, Paine will lead the ODI team too, even though Hohns has said that the appointment was a temporary one. Irrespective, as Paine pointed out, “The English are going to be basking in the glory of what’s happened.”

The Australians will play two 50-over warm-up fixtures, against Sussex and Middlesex, before the first ODI against England, at The Oval on 13 June. The ODI series will then move to Cardiff, Nottingham, Chester-le-Street and Manchester before the two teams play a one-off Twenty20 International in Birmingham to finish things off.