Tim Paine has no immediate plans of vacating his post as Australian captain despite recording back-to-back home series defeats against India, but has refused to commit to next summer’s Ashes.
The embattled skipper was again thrown under the blowtorch on Tuesday night off the back of a shattering 2-1 series loss in which his leadership was repeatedly called into question.
While a triumphant Rishabh Pant celebrated his series-winning heroics at the Gabba, Paine was reportedly consoled by Cricket Australia’s head of team performance Ben Oliver.
Called in to steady the ship in the wake of Australia’s infamous ball-tampering saga, the 36-year-old’s tenure showed cracks this summer in a string of questionable tactics and an on-field blow-up at the SCG.
Yet despite the criticism from around the Australian cricket fraternity, Paine said he was not reconsidering his post as skipper and intended to lead the Test squad to South Africa next month for their next tour.
That’s a series which is still yet to be locked in because of complications COVID-19 pandemic. Should it not eventuate, there is the very real possibility that the veteran keeper may have led his country for the final time.
“I’m still looking forward to going to South Africa and the series there. We’ve had a goal to make this Test Championship final [in July],” he said. “I think that’s still achievable. It’s a big focus for us and for me and this group.”
Asked whether he intended to press on until the Ashes, Pained replied: “I’ve said many times the last two or three years I don’t look past the next series. I’m 36 years old, I’m loving doing my job. It’s a difficult job and it’s times like this it can be bloody hard work when you’re copping it left, right and centre.
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“That’s what I signed up for. I didn’t play my best cricket at times this series but that can happen. I’ll go away, look to get better, look to improve certain parts of my game for the next year.”
Paine felt the heat for many of Australia’s shortcomings this summer, and the skipper knew Tuesday’s second failed attempt at a day five close-out, and with it the Border-Gavaskar trophy, would have him “copping heaps of flak.”
“This has certainly been slightly different for me in the last two weeks with lots of criticism coming my way,” Paine said. “In the past, it probably hasn’t come my way.
“But that’s par for the course. International cricket is a big-boy business and you have to have a very, very thick skin.
“I had a pretty ordinary day in Sydney, I copped that on the chin.”
Boos could be heard around the Gabba when Paine faced up for his post-match interview in the immediate aftermath of India’s win.