Tim Paine has been given the responsibilities to captain the Australian Test team following Steve Smith's ban from the game for a year following his infamous involvement in the ball tampering scandal.
Paine has promised to better the tainted picture of Cricket Australia in the near future and is in the process to rebuild the team. He is currently leading the team in the final Test match of the series in Johannesburg.
At his suggestion, the Australian and South African teams lined up and shook hands with each other before starting play in the fourth and final Test of what has been a fractious and controversial series.
“I’ve been watching soccer,” he said. “I noticed they do that every game and I thought, cricket’s a gentleman’s game".
“I spoke to our players about bringing it in. It’s not something we’ll do every Test match but I think it’s not a bad way to start a Test series. It’s something we’ll probably do going forward. I think it’s just a good show of sportsmanship and respect.”
He said he had discussed the idea with Faf du Plessis, the South African skipper, before the toss."He was happy to that. I think he thought it was a good idea.”
Paine admitted that relations between the teams needed to be improved.
“There’s been a lot of water gone under the bridge and a bit of tension between the two sides. We want to be super-competitive but we also want to respect the opposition and it was important to show that today.”
In the process of regaining the faith of the fans, Paine said that they are not hurrying with it and taking it slow. “We’re trying to take it one day at a time, trying to build back the respect of the cricket world, our fans and the cricket public,” said the 33-year-old Tasmanian. “We know we’ve got a really long journey to get where we want to get to. The last couple of days have been the start of that long journey.”
On the approach of the Australian cricket team in the first two Tests, Paine said “At times we’ve tended to push the boundaries as far as possible. We’ve seen that people probably don’t like that. It’s time for us to change. We’re happy to do that,” he added. “I think it actually suits this group of players. We’re a different group of players than Australia have had for a long time. We haven’t got too many guys that like to verbalize and have that really hard-nosed Australian approach. We want to create an environment where guys can just come in and play cricket and be themselves".
Without the likes of Smith and Warner, Australia is entering into a new era and Paine is certainly aiming to bear the torchbearer.