Tim Paine is looking no further ahead than a tour of South Africa but feels confident he is the right man to lead Australia, after his team crashed to a 2-1 series defeat to India on Tuesday.
Australia’s star-studded attack failed to run through the tourists on day five of the series-deciding fourth Test, as was the case on day five of the drawn SCG Test. The shock loss to an inexperienced Indian XI, minus a stack of injured stars plus captain Virat Kohli, will ensure near-unprecedented scrutiny of Paine.
Adam Gilchrist has already questioned Paine’s tactics, pointing to the fact the Tasmanian is juggling the burden of batting, wicketkeeping and captaining. Australia’s next Test assignment is a tour of South Africa, which is yet to be locked in because of the Covid-19 pandemic but likely to start in early March.
Paine, who was just three years old when a star-studded West Indies inflicted Australia’s last Test loss in Brisbane, knows he will now “cop 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. Still looking forward to going to South Africa … we had a goal to make this Test championship final and I think that’s still achievable.”
The 36-year-old made it clear that he wants to “keep leading this team”. “We’ve got some unfinished business … I intend to finish that,” Paine said. “It doesn’t always go your way in cricket and life. For me it’s about soldiering on.”
The veteran wouldn’t be drawn on whether he will likely be behind the stumps for next summer’s Ashes. “I’ve said many times in the last two or three years that I don’t look past the next series,” Paine said. “I’m 36 years old. I’m loving doing my job.
“I don’t sit at home thinking I’ve done a brilliant job every day. I’m very honest with myself, I know when I make mistakes.”