The independent voice of cricket


‘Didn’t notice too many being that nice to Virat’ – Paine responds to Clarke’s ‘sucking-up’ comment

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Australia’s Test captain Tim Paine has responded to former skipper Michael Clarke’s comments that Australia went too easy on Virat Kohli and co, during their 2018-19 home series, for fear of losing out on lucrative IPL deals, saying that an IPL contract was the last thing on anyone’s mind in the middle of a Test series.

“I certainly didn’t notice too many people being that nice to Virat or not trying to get him out or anything like that,” Paine told ESPNcricinfo. “I thought everyone who had the ball in their hand or when we were batting were trying their absolute best to win the game for Australia. I’m not sure who was going easy on him; we certainly had a thing where we didn’t want to provoke any fight with him because we think that’s when he plays at his best.”

Speaking for himself, Paine said he had nothing to lose, as he wasn’t a part of an IPL franchise in any case, but denied that his team, by extension, wasn’t giving their best during the four-Test encounter, which India won 2-1, for their maiden series win on Australian soil.

“I certainly wasn’t holding back, but again, the IPL’s not a huge draw for me at the moment, so I had nothing to lose,” Paine said. “But anytime our guys go out and play a Test match for Australia, they’ll be giving their absolute all and I’m pretty sure they’re not thinking about an IPL contract when they’re running in, bowling to Virat.”

Australia’s on-field behaviour has been a constant subject of scrutiny ever since the Newlands ball-tampering scandal, and Paine, who has been tasked with leading them through this time of cultural overhaul, didn’t see much rationale in the theory that holding back on a few words would have a massive impact on the end result.

“What you say on the field is irrelevant 99 per cent of the time,” Paine said. “Sometimes you can get a little inside someone’s head or something like that, but if you’re not batting well and not bowling well, all the talk in the world doesn’t mean anything. There’s no doubt our first focus is on executing our skill and being as good as we can possibly be in that area and then sometimes things happen on a cricket field and you’ve got to go in, you’ve got to change your tack, or you’ve got to have a few words.

“As we’ve seen the last 12 or 18 months, we still do that, we still stick up for each other, we still fight as hard as any Australian team, but we’ve probably just had to move with the times and I’ve been really proud of the way we’ve played out cricket.”

Have Your Say

Become a Wisden member

  • Exclusive offers and competitions
  • Money-can’t-buy experiences
  • Join the Wisden community
  • Sign up for free
Latest magazine

Get the magazine

12 Issues for just £39.99