Cricket Australia has announced their Playing XI for the Perth Test and Captain Tim Paine has once again come out in support of his under-fire players - Aaron Finch and Mitchell Starc ahead of Australia’s crucial second encounter against India to be played from December 14 (Friday).
Finch and Starc have got another lifeline to prove their worth in Perth despite their below-par performance in Australia’s 31-runs defeat in the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Adelaide.
With the aim to level the four-match Test Series Down Under at the new Perth Stadium, Australia has once again handed the responsibility to Starc, Josh Hazelwood and Pat Cummins in the pace department on an expected pacey and bouncy wicket with Nathan Lyon being the only specialist spin option in the playing XI.
While saying Finch has been successful at the international circuit, Paine believes that the criticism of Starc was over the top, saying the paceman would certainly fire him up in Perth to prove all talks wrong.
Paine told reporters in Perth, “The criticism he has come under this week has been pretty unfair to be honest. I think barring two or three overs in Adelaide where he got his radar a little bit wrong, I thought he bowled really well. I think his best and his worst are getting closer together. I think we’re getting really close to his best and the conditions here are going to suit him down to the ground.”
Meanwhile, the Aussie skipper said that Starc took the comments personally, “One thing I know about Starcy is that if he cops a bit of criticism, he takes it personally and that sometimes gets the best out of him. So I’m pretty pumped to see him go tomorrow or the next day and see what he can produce.”
On Finch, who failed badly to score the runs in Adelaide, Paine noted, “We encourage all our players to back their strengths and Finchy has been successful at international cricket. He’s like no other player and he just needs that one score to, I suppose, just get that little bit more self-belief that we know he’s got at international one-day and T20 cricket. You’re not going to succeed at international cricket unless you stick to your strengths and Finchy knows the best way he goes about his batting and he’ll make sure he keeps trying to do that and if he does, he’ll come good for us.”
The captain is expecting another nail-bettering encounter against India in Perth, saying Virat Kohli and his team have found great momentum and rhythm by winning Adelaide Test.
Paine signed off by saying, “They’ve got a sniff of something special, something they’re never done before in Australia so we know it’s going to be another hard-fought, highly-competitive Test. It’s going to be a huge test for our whole group, not just out batters or our bowlers. It’s going to take all eleven of us.”
(With AFP Inputs)