Australian captain Tim Paine feels that winning matches and winning hearts are not mutually exclusive tasks for him and gaining the trust of his countrymen back and taming the Indian team in the upcoming four-match series have the same priority.
Paine said the Australian team, still recovering from the furor of the ball-tampering scandal, has identified the areas that needed some changes.
“Both (winning matches and hearts). That’s what we are here for, we play Test cricket to win, there is no doubt about that and clearly, we’ve realized we needed to do some work in some areas. Gaining the respect of our country is as high a priority as is winning,” said the wicketkeeper-batsman in the pre-match press conference in Adelaide on Wednesday.
“I just had an interview with Ricky Ponting and we went through the names of Australian Test captains over the years so it is a little bit daunting to be in a bracket with some of those guys. At the same time, I’m trying to keep it as simple as I can. I’m hugely honored to be captain of Australia but I am not letting it weigh me down too much,” he added.
Australia announced their playing XI for the first Test in Adelaide, which sees Cummins, Hazlewood and Starc joined by the sole spinner, Lyon.
“Having Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins back in as well is going to be different. The style of play in Australia compared to the UAE is completely different. We are going to go about it the same way we did over there, it’s just going to be tactically slightly different,” said Paine.
“They got through the Ashes last year I thought and bowled a hell of a lot of overs. So, they are fresh and ready to go. They have had a great preparation and are ready to go. They are fine to go. They will be bowling big overs if need be, and they are totally comfortable with that,” he said.
Talking about the omission of vice-captain Mitchell Marsh and inclusion of debutant Marcus Harris, Paine said, “We know the talent Mitch has. We know most likely at some stage in this series we’ll need him, so we’re taking the opportunity at the moment to send him back to play a Shield game, get more cricket under his belt, knowing at some stage we’re probably going to need him.”
“We know he is good enough to be a genuine all-rounder at Test level. He probably just hasn’t put it together consistently enough. Going forward we’ve got full faith in him being a Test all-rounder. As this series wears on, and we get to places where the wicket might be a bit flatter and conditions might be a little warmer, our bowlers will be a bit tired then the all-rounder position becomes important,” said Paine.
(with PTI inputs)