Tim Paine, the Australia captain, has apologised for his behaviour at the SCG on the final day of the third Australia-India Test, calling an unscheduled press conference where he accepted that “his leadership was not good enough”.
Paine’s behaviour throughout the enthralling Test made headlines: on the third day, he was heard questioning the judgement of on-field umpire Paul Wilson, appealing him to show “some f****ing consistency” after a DRS review was shot down. On the fifth day, he was seen engaging with Ravichandran Ashwin in a verbal duel, and was heard on the stump mic taunting the Indian spinner by saying “at least my teammates like me dickhead”. After the end of the Test, he was docked 15 per cent of his match fees for showing dissent at the umpire.
In the post-match press conference, Paine defended his team’s tactics against Ashwin, saying “We try our best but we aren’t perfect,” even though he apologised for his use of language against Wilson. “The worst thing we’ve done is let the odd f-bomb go then I think we are going OK.”
However, in an unscheduled press conference that he called later, Paine admitted that he “let the pressure of the game affect me,” and wanted to “apologise for the mistakes that I made” during the concluding day of the Test.
“Paine’s future might rest on the Gabba. Bringing back the bad behaviour probably won’t make a difference either way, but it could decide whether his already fraying reputation ends in tatters by the time he’s done.”
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) January 11, 2021
“I’m someone who prides themselves on the way I lead this team and yesterday was a poor reflection,” Paine told reporters, also admitting that the pressure affected his performances on a day he dropped three catches behind the stumps.
“My leadership wasn’t good enough. I let the pressure of the game get to me. It affected my mood and then from there affected my performance. I said to our players yesterday ‘I’ve had a really poor game as a leader’.
“I let our group down. I’m human, I want to apologise for the mistakes that I made.”
Paine revealed that he spoke with head coach Justin Langer later in the day about his verbal battle with Ashwin, admitting that the wicketkeeper “was on the edge” due to the pressure of the match.
“I raised it with him (Langer),” Paine said. “My mood throughout the whole Test match was probably a little bit off.
“I’m normally a pretty relaxed person. When we were batting in this Test, I was on edge. I was wandering around the change rooms, couldn’t sit still, couldn’t watch and I think that added to the tension.
“I pride myself on, if anything, taking the tension out of our change room.”