Australia's fast bowling great Brett Lee has come out strongly in defense of an underfire Tim Paine and stated that he's a brilliant keeper and a good captain. Michael Clarke also suggested that all the blame can't be put on the captain alone as there are more decision-makers involved.
Tim Paine hasn't had the best last 10-12 days as after becoming the first Aussie skipper to lose a Test series at home against India in 2018/19, this time around, he turned into the first Aussie captain in 32 years to face defeat at the Gabba, Australia's fortress, which was breached on Tuesday by the Indians. To top that Tim Paine's catching was also quite poor. In the second innings of the SCG Test, he dropped three chances while he let go of Washington Sundar in the first innings in Brisbane and then a really tough stumping chance of Rishabh Pant on Tuesday.
Paine was also questioned for his captaincy tactics. He hardly used Cameron Green at Gabba while few experts reckoned that he was quite defensive in his captaincy overall as well. To top that, he was also found using foul language for one of the umpires in Sydney and also for Indian cricketer Ravichandran Ashwin. Now, his future as the skipper of the side is also under scanner.
However, former Australian pacer Brett Lee has jumped to the defense of the Australian skipper and stated that he has been very good as a leader and people have made too much of the dropped chances, which isn't quite out of the blue for wicket-keepers.
“I think since he’s taken over the captaincy he’s shown real good leadership qualities,” Lee told foxsports.com.au, reported Sportstar.
“And look, there’s been a lot written about Tim Paine behind the stumps. He’s grassed a few chances, but who hasn’t? You look at all the keepers in history and I’m sure there would be plenty who had leaner periods behind the stumps. With the bat, you can’t fault him. He goes along with Marnus Labuschagne as having one of the best techniques in the team. He stood up and took on the Indian players,” he said.
Lee added that he finds him a great overall package and is quite good be it as a keeper, batsman, or captain.
“His captaincy has been really good. As I said, in Sydney there were maybe a few other things he could have tried, but put yourself in that situation — he’s under the pump, he’s had a few players go down as well, there’s chances (gone begging) when they’re trying to take those last five wickets,” he said.
“(He’s a) brilliant keeper, his batting has been outstanding, and his captaincy really sound.”
Former Australian skipper Michael Clarke also asserted that over time the power in the cricket team has gone through transition and only the captain can't be held accountable for defeats.
“When I played cricket when I grew up watching my father ... the captain was accountable in the teams I played in. Through that transition of me captaining Australia, that changed. There had become a chairman of selectors that had more pull, there had become a high performance manager that had more pull, there had become a head coach who had more pull,” Clarke told Big Sports Breakfast.
“So now, who is driving the bus? This is my point.”
He also pointed out Australia's negative attitude as one of the reasons for their 1-2 loss to a depleted Indian side, which was missing as many as seven first-choice players for the Gabba Test and had to play two net bowlers, who were named as injury replacements owing to lack of choices in the squad.
“I thought we might have been a tad negative at certain stages throughout because we were scared to lose versus attack hard and look to win the game,” Clarke said on Big Sports Breakfast.
“At the end of the day, whether we lost with 20 overs left in the game or on the last ball of the game, it didn’t matter. We had to win that game to win that trophy. I sort of feel we should have approached the first ball of that game to the last ball of that game with a bit more of that attitude.”