Australia Test captain Tim Paine isn’t really pleased with Michael Clarke’s scathing comment on the current outfit, rejecting his claims of “trying too hard to be liked” by saying that they are just focusing on regaining the trust of the Australian public through playing hard under the line.
Dismissing Clarke’s comment, Paine further admitted that they are trying hard to be liked or loved by the Australian fans and public instead of being "liked" by the oppositions.
Clarke, the former Australian skipper, had been criticizing the attitude of the current national side, bluntly saying that they "won't win s**t" by "worrying about being liked".
Paine told ESPNcricinfo on Wednesday, “No one has spoken about being liked, certainly by the opposition. 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. We're still going to play hard Australian cricket, as Michael put it, that's not going to change.”
He continued, “Clearly Johannesburg was a really strange circumstance and a difficult game to play in for everyone I think, but going into Dubai the guys competed as hard as they could and they'll continue to, and we've got some more senior guys coming back now. With Hazlewood, Starc, and Cummins, that's only going to help guys grow with confidence around them.
With guys like Travis Head and Marcus Harris, when you've got Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc and Patrick Cummins running in, it's a bit easier to play that confident, aggressive style of cricket that Australia want to play and our team certainly wants to play.”
Meanwhile, the Test skipper has agreed with limited-overs skipper Aaron Finch concerning the difference between playing hard cricket and choosing verbal attacks as an easy option to dominate the game.
Paine added, “I totally agree and I think that's one of the small tweaks we're trying to make. I think there's been times in the past where we've gone overboard with that and actually gone away from what we're good at. Our No. 1 strength is our skill, so we've got to play hard cricket in terms of making it difficult for guys to bat against us and too difficult to bowl against us - we want to make it an uncomfortable environment for people to play against us, but we want to do it mainly by our skills.
At the same time, we're going to be up and about and playing that tough, competitive Australian brand of cricket that Australia's always been renowned for, it's just knowing at times we might need to pull it back and make sure we're getting the most important thing right first, and that's our skill.”
Paine also made it clear that he would give his teammates the freedom to choose whether or not they want to engage in verbal altercations with the opposition, but they would give it back if India starts the verbal spats during the upcoming Test series, starting from December 6 in Adelaide.
He further added on the same, “It depends on the individual. I know some guys enjoy it, [to] some guys it doesn't matter. In Test cricket and with some of the guys in the Indian side there's going to be times where there's a bit of heat out in the middle, and guys are going to be right into the contest.”
Paine signed off by saying, “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. But we now know the difference between what's right and what's wrong, and what's expected. 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.”
(With ESPNcricinfo Inputs)