Responding to statistical comparisons made by the Barmy Army between Joe Root and Tim Paine, the Australia Test captain has said that, “you’d think they’d know the game a little better than that”.
The Barmy Army had noted that if Joe Root was to score 80 more runs than Tim Paine in the opening exchanges of the Ashes, then Root’s Test runs in 2021 would overtake the Paine’s career total.
Speaking on his SEN Radio show, Paine hit back on the comparison, reasoning that since he was a wicketkeeper, the jibe was an unfair one.
If Joe Root scores 80 more runs than Tim Paine in the first 2 Ashes Tests, his 2021 Test runs will be higher than Paine's career Test runs 👀 pic.twitter.com/kudOTEDYdN
— England's Barmy Army (@TheBarmyArmy) October 6, 2021
“I’d like to say apples and oranges but it’s not even that. The Barmy Army watch a lot of cricket, you’d think they’d understand the game a little bit better than that.
“Anyway, what I do know is that I’ve got 1,534 more runs than the Barmy Army, so I’m happy with that. And I think in those four Tests I’ve played in 2021, compared to Joe’s 18, I think I’ve taken more catches so why don’t we tweet that?”
It is not clear what statistic Paine is referring to here. In 2021, Paine has actually played two Test matches and taken six catches, whereas Joe Root has taken 18 catches in 12 matches. Even if the comparison is of Root’s previous 17 Tests (Root missed the first Test of the 2020 summer) which have come in the same time frame as Paine’s previous four, Root has taken 28 catches to Paine’s 17.
The Barmy Army have since pointed out that, while Paine might have more runs, the two have the same number of Test centuries.
— England's Barmy Army (@TheBarmyArmy) October 8, 2021
Paine went on to expand on the fact that where Root is England’s leading batter, Paine performs a less prevalent role with the bat from No.7.
“If Joe Root wasn’t scoring more runs than me they’d have a serious issue. They rely on him to win them games of cricket with the bat, whereas I’m a small piece in our jigsaw.
“The Barmy Army enjoy poking a bit of fun at me but that’s fine, I enjoy it. I’m looking forward to the Ashes, they’re going to be relentless on me but, yeah I’d like them to get their comparisons right.”
Paine was also very complimentary of England’s support, referring to his disappointment that Australia’s Covid restrictions will prevent them from travelling to the series.
“It’s actually a bit sad because it does really add to the atmosphere and they are very good at what they do. Granted that they do re-use a lot of chants from the English Premier League, I don’t think they’ve created anything too original for about 20 years.
“But they are excellent and they’re brilliant to have at the cricket ground. And their support of the England team around the world is phenomenal. They bring a different dynamic to a Test series, so it’s going to be sad in a way not to have them there.”
Paine also responded to the criticism that had followed his previous comments that the Ashes would start on December 8th, “whether Joe [Root] is here or not”, saying he thought he had answered the question with a “straight bat”.
“It comes with the territory when you’re playing against England. They are going to come at us hard.
“I’d like a bit of accuracy around it. I certainly didn’t hear any ‘lecturing’, as Nasser Hussain put it. ‘Spouting nonsense’, I think was Rob Key.
“I put the four things [I said] down here. The Ashes will start December 8th. We want good conditions for them, because we’ll get the same. Decisions will be made above us at government and board level. And once that’s done everyone has a choice.
“I think that’s quite sensible and logical, what I’ve said there.”
Paine also jokingly referred to his disappointment that Kevin Pietersen had responded calmly to his jibe that the Englishman was an, “expert on everything”.
“The disappointing thing was actually KP. We thought when we dropped that little drive-by on him that he would certainly take the bait and get Jack and Painey, SEN Hobart out there, but it’s like he’s grown up. It was extraordinary.”