The ever-growing presence of Tim Paine as Test captain is giving his teammates the sort of confidence that could carry an emerging group to bigger and better things.
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In just is fourth outing as Test captain, Paine made a statement in Perth with a feisty second innings batting effort that included a verbal back and forth with his Indian counterpart Virat Kohli.
Paine, who before the series began said being liked was never part of his mantra, stood his ground as Kohli tried to impart his own presence as the Aussies fought to maintain a winning edge.
Then when he took the gloves, Paine maintained his vocal efforts, and his classic “you can’t really like him” sledge to Kohli’s teammate Murali Vijay went viral.
Paine’s vice-captain Josh Hazlewood said it was evidence of a player, and person, growing in confidence in a role he was given out of nowhere.
But as a person with bountiful life experience, Hazlewood said Paine, who just turned 34, had the potential to continue to grow as a leader as Australian cricket looks to turn around its on and off-field persona.
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“I think he is getting more confident as time goes on. He’s quite an experienced player, as far as he’s been playing for a long time. He’s had time out of the game too, so he knows himself quite well, not just as a cricketer but as a person,” Hazlewood said.
“Off the field he is great to talk to about life as well. The cricket side takes care of itself.”
Paine also earned praise from one of Australia’s greatest ever captains, Allan Border.
“He’s doing everything fantastically well,” Border told Cricket 360.
Hazlewood praised Paine’s calm, clear-thinking manner, which was on show during two solid innings with the bat, including a second dig of 37, batting when the wicket, and the match, was most volatile.
“He keeps things quite calm and composed,” Hazlewood said.
“He doesn’t get too flustered any stage really. You could see that with the bat today. And in the field he leads very well, nice and calm. He’s been really great.”
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