Australian cricket captain Tim Paine wants the Indian Test series to bring the focus back on-field
Tim Paine will lead Australia against India in Adelaide in the first Test on home soil since the ball-tampering affair. (AAP: Glenn Hunt, file photo)
Australian captain Tim Paine is sick of all the talk.
Paine wants the first Test against India starting on Thursday in Adelaide to be a full-stop on the retrospection, reviews and commentary about the Australian team and its culture.
- Following a year of turmoil, the Australian cricket team begins a four-Test series against India in Adelaide on Thursday
- Test skipper Tim Paine says he wants to shift the focus from off-field problems to on-field performance
- The team will focus on negating the influence of Indian captain and the world’s top batsman, Virat Kohli
“There has been so much talk in the last 10 months that everyone is sick of it,” Paine said on Sunday.
“There has been so much talk, it’s time for action.”
Paine will lead Australia in their first Test match on home soil since the suspensions of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft for ball-tampering in South Africa last March.
The bans triggered widespread angst about the state of Australian cricket and prompted reviews into the national team’s culture.
In the wake of the suspensions of the trio of players, coach Darren Lehmann, Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland, CA chairman David Peever and CA’s high performance manager Pat Howard have all resigned.
Paine hopes the series opener against India will return a focus to on-field performances rather than the widespread ructions.
The Indians have never won a Test series in Australia but boast arguably the best batsman in the world, Virat Kohli.
India’s skipper has flourished on past tours of Australia, where he has made five centuries in eight Tests and averages 62 — more than his Test average of 55.57.
Kohli is in solid form, scoring 64 against the Cricket Australia XI in the tourists’ Test warm-up at the SCG.
He even took a rare wicket with an ordinary delivery to centurion Harry Nielsen.
Paine said the Australians were plotting the downfall of Kohli but would rely on old-age methods rather than funky field placings and bowling plans.
“The thing with Virat, he has every plan under the sun tried against him and he has countered all of them,” Paine said.
“It’s going to be a real challenge … but I think our bowling attack is as good, if not better, than anyone (else) in the world.
“[If] we can get them all on song and build pressure on him for a period of time then he [Kohli] is like the rest of us — he’s human and he makes mistakes.”
Australia’s batting line-up remains uncertain, with coach Justin Langer pondering whether uncapped opener Marcus Harris or middle-order batsman Peter Handscomb will get the selection nod.
But the bowling attack is settled with quicks Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and spinner Nathan Lyon to be tasked with combating Kohli.
Pressure the key to getting Kohli, says Cummins
Cummins, like his captain Paine, said patience would be a key to winning the battles against the inspirational Indian.
“With all the great players … there’s all these weird and wacky plans but the best batsmen always find a way to counter it,” he said on Sunday.
“What we did really well last year was build pressure, no-one eased up, and eventually the batsmen felt it.
“It’s going to no different (against Kohli).
“We have just got to bowl well consistently but there’s no doubt he’ll score runs at some point in the series.”