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‘I didn’t hear much empathy’ – Nasser Hussain criticises Tim Paine for ‘lecturing’ England over Ashes doubts

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Nasser Hussain has criticised Tim Paine calling him out for his “lack of empathy” after the Australia captain confidently asserted that England would tour Australia despite their strict quarantine measures at the end of a year that has already seen England play 12 Tests.

England Test skipper Joe Root recently admitted that he and other England players had yet to commit to traveling to Australia, a sentiment that received little sympathy from Paine last week. Australia’s skipper, speaking on Australia radio station SEN Hobart said: “They’ll have a choice to make, you either get on that plane or don’t. No one is forcing you to come. If you don’t want to come, don’t come. The Ashes are going ahead. The first Test is on 8 December, whether Joe is here or not. There will be a squad of England players coming here.

“They all want to come, there’s no doubt about that. They’re trying to get themselves the best possible conditions they can. But we all are. We don’t want to give them poor conditions because we’re going to be in the same boat. It’ll be worked out.

Hussain did not take kindly to Paine’s comments, writing in his Daily Mail column:  “When Tim Paine, Australia’s Test captain, spoke recently I didn’t hear much empathy from a fellow professional. Now others have jumped on the Ashes bandwagon, as if England are somehow trying to dodge an important series.”

“England have played 18 Test matches since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. That’s five more than anyone else — and 14 more than Australia, whose four Tests all came at home against India last winter.

“I’m quite proud of the way in which England’s Test team have kept the show on the road in difficult circumstances, moving in and out of bubbles and spending time away from their families. It’s draining. Mental health has suffered. So for people in Australia to start lecturing them, and telling them they should simply suck it up, is a bit rich.”

“They (Joe Root and Ashley Giles) need to be considerate about the players’ mental health as they prepare to enter yet another bubble on one of the toughest tours of all. But they also know their only chance of winning in Australia is if everyone is on board. That’s why I don’t like these easy judgments from the other side of the world. If the last 18 months have taught us anything, surely it’s the importance of empathy.”

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