Australia captain Tim Paine has apologised for his sledging behaviour during the third Test against India, which ended in a draw on Monday.
Paine made headlines late on the final day’s play when he started sledging India spinner Ravi Ashwin, who fought bravely to earn his team a result in Sydney.
The wicketkeeper was heard saying, ‘Can’t wait to get you to the Gabba, Ash,’ to which Ashwin responded, ‘Can’t wait to get you to India, it’ll be your last series.’
Out of frustration Paine then reacted by saying: ‘Maybe. At least my teammates like me, dickhead.’
The skipper, however, called a media conference on Tuesday morning to express his apologies for the way he acted throughout the Test.
‘My leadership wasn’t good enough. I let the pressure of the game get to me. It sort of affected my mood and from there affected my performance,’ Paine said.
Meanwhile Paine sought to explain away accusations that Steve Smith purposefully damaged the wicket. Smith was caught on the stump camera appearing to remove India’s batsmen’s guards.
‘I have spoken to Steve about this. And I know he’s really disappointed with the way it’s come across. If you’ve watched Steve Smith play Test cricket, that’s something he does every single game, five or six times a day,’ Paine said. ‘He’s always standing in the batting crease, shadow batting. We know he’s got those many Steve Smith quirks and one of them is he’s always marking centre.
‘He was certainly not changing guard and I’d imagine if he was then the Indian players would have kicked up a bit of a stink at the time. When he’s in the field, he likes to walk up to where he bats and visualizes how he’s going to play. Yesterday you could see him up there, playing a couple of shots as a left-hander – as if [working out] where he wanted Lyno to pitch the ball.
‘And one of his mannerisms – he does it a lot – was marking centre, he wasn’t by any stretch of the imagination trying to change guard or do anything like that.’
— Chloe-Amanda Bailey (@ChloeAmandaB) January 12, 2021