Australia Test captain Tim Paine rubbished alleged claims from England pacer Jofra Archer that Ben Stokes’ onslaught last Sunday had scared the Aussies at Headingley. The skipper also admitted that they had made many mistakes, but bygones are bygones. The team is now ready for a cracker of a game.
“I’ve addressed it previously. Jofra’s entitled to his opinion, he’s had plenty of those that’s for sure. But we made some mistakes, it happens, we’ve addressed it as a team, we’ve spoken about it honestly. I was certainly one of those people who made mistakes, it happens in cricket, we’ve moved on and we’re here ready for a great Test match,” Paine said.
When asked about what Australia could have done differently to retain the Ashes, this is what the 34-year-old had to say –
“I would do something differently with my field placings. There were times looking back at it where it was really obvious I should’ve had the field up and allowed Ben even to hit a couple of boundaries so we had more balls at the tail-ender. But I didn’t do that, the mistake’s been made, we’ve moved on, we’ve learned from it.”
Australia have omitted experienced batsman Usman Khawaja for the fourth Test. Paine was pretty frank about the fact that Khawaja hadn’t quite performed, averaging just 20.33 across three Tests. Hence, they chose to stick with young opener Marcus Harris. Also, with Steve Smith making a comeback post concussion and Marnus Labuschagne doing a decent job with the bat, it was natural that the seasoned player would be axed.
“It’s unfortunate for him that Steve Smith missed the last test and when a player that good is coming back someone’s got to make way. It’s a good thing for us that we’ve got a player of Usman’s quality on the sidelines, it means we’re getting our team to where we want to be and we want our selectors making hard decisions,” explained Paine.
The Aussie captain also showed faith in Marcus Harris and said that the young opener could score plenty of runs in Test Cricket.
“You’re not going to change your order too much. Marcus came in, played one Test, I think it would have been hard to then leave him out straight away. He played ok, he would’ve liked a few more runs as well, but we think Harry’s had a decent start to his Test match career and we think he’s got a lot of talent and we think he’s going to convert that into a lot of Test runs.”
Paine said that the fast bowlers would be picked based on the conditions. After an impressive show with the ball against Derbyshire, it remains to be seen if Australia will go with Mitchell Starc.
“We’ll have another look at that wicket, it looks pretty dry. Hopefully it’s got a bit of pace in it, but Starcy bowled superbly last week down at Derby, he’s been working really hard at getting his length right and we were really impressed with what he did down there, he held his pace back a little bit, got the ball in the right area and swung it when he needed to, then we know what he can do to tail end batters when he really cranks it up. the boys have been calling him ‘The Mop’ for a few years now, that’s a thing he does really well, and even when you’ve got a couple of set batters you’ve got a big, tall left-armer who can bowl 150 kph and can shake things up a little bit. He’s a great option for us, we think this wicket might suit him and if we make that call we’re sure he’ll do a great job as he has over his whole career.”
Tim Paine would surely like to make an impact with the bat, which he hasn’t done so far, as well as reverse the tide as a skipper.