The Australian December 2, 2018
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.
“There has been so much talk in the last 10 months that everyone is sick of it,” Paine said today. “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.
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.
“And we can get them all on song and build pressure on him for a period of time then he’s 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. 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 today.
“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.”