Australian Test captain Tim Paine has responded to former Aussie skipper Michael Clarke’s criticism of the new and friendlier team culture by asserting that his side isn’t following a friends-first policy.
‘No one has spoken about being liked, certainly [not] by the opposition,’ said Paine told ESPNcricinfo in an interview. ‘We’ve spoken about wanting to get the Australian public’s trust and make sure that clearly you want the Australian public and cricket fans to like or love the Australian Test team. Certainly, there’s that aspect, but from an opposition perspective we’re not concerned about being liked one bit.’
Since the ball-tampering scandal in Newlands that has rocked Cricket Australia and put a spotlight on their team culture on and off the field, Paine has taken over the captaincy and started the custom of shaking hands with each player of the opposition team before the series begins.
‘We’re still going to play hard Australian cricket, as Michael put it, that’s not going to change,’ Paine added. ‘The focus for us has got to be on delivering our skill as well as we possibly can, so if guys want to get involved in a bit of that stuff to get themselves going, then that’s great.
‘We’re not going to be going over the top, but certainly, you’ve got to stand up for your team and your teammates, and I’m sure when the time comes for that we’ll be doing that. But the main focus for us will be to play the best cricket we can.’
The first Test between Australia and India takes place in Adelaide from 6 December.
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