Pakistan v Australia Test - Men's
No sledging: Paine's promise to Aussies
New skipper outlines how he believes Test team should change the way it plays the game
19 April 2018, 05:32 PM AEST
New Test captain Tim Paine says sledging won't be a part of the Australian team under his leadership, the Tasmanian vowing to clean up the side's image and win back the public's support following the ball-tampering scandal.
As players await the announcement of their new head coach following the resignation of Darren Lehmann, and the outcome of a review into the team's culture, Paine has already promised a fresh approach for their next Test campaign, against Pakistan in October.
The 33-year-old revealed the Australian team had already begun some introspection about their aggressive style of play in the weeks leading up to the Cape Town Test and, now that the team's behaviour has come to a head, it's his job to lead a positive change.
"No, I don't think it will, not a lot," Paine said when asked if sledging will remain a part of the Australian team's tactics.
"I think there's always a time and a place to talk to your opposition, but I think what's said and how it's said will be very different going forward.
"A lot of this stuff we were actually starting to speak about under Steve (Smith’s captaincy) already. A lot of the players had their head around the fact we needed to change the way we play. Some of those conversations were already being had.
"I'm really looking forward to playing that role and winning back the trust and respect of our fans and the Australian public first and foremost. That's a really exciting thing for our playing group.
"(Smith) is someone I'll certainly be speaking too quite closely about how we go about it and keeping him in the loop. Because we'd started to have these discussions a few months ago and Steve was keen for the team to start playing a different style. So for me it's about carrying that on."
With six months until their next Test series, Paine says his players have time to get away from the team environment and think more about how they want to play the game.
A relatively new face in the side having only returned to the national set-up in November after a long absence, Paine conceded players had been guilty in the past of not controlling their emotions.
"We'll have a new coach going forward, we're going to have some time off where guys can take stock and think about the way they want to play," he said.
"But certainly, playing international cricket you've got to be as competitive as you can be. But we've got to look at different ways of doing that and more respectful ways of putting opposition teams under the pump.
"Part of what we spoke about a lot is playing on skill, not emotion. I think in the last couple of years at times we've been a touch too emotional and got carried away on that side of the game. That's a small thing we can improve on."
Paine's first Test as captain, in Johannesburg last month, was notable for the lack of on-field chatter from an Australian side chastened and exhausted from the fallout of the tampering saga.
The change in attitude was noted by Proteas batsman Dean Elgar, who cast doubt over the ability of any team, not least the typically-combative Australians, to keep their emotions in check in the long term.
"I've played quite a few Tests against Australia and it's definitely been the most docile Test since I played Test cricket," Elgar said at the Wanderers.
"I'm pretty sure it's not going to last very long. I think you've got to have a bit of a tenacious approach sometimes in Test cricket.
"There's a lot of frustrations in the game ... so, it's only human nature for guys to potentially say words to each other. But that's fine, if you're not personal and just having a competitive edge on the field, I'm extremely happy with that."
Having returned from the fire of South Africa to the relative calm of Hobart, Paine conceded the magnitude of the saga took a while to sink in.
While he conceded tweaks are needed to the way the team plays, he believes wholesale changes aren't necessary.
"I don't think it's as disastrous as it's been made out," he said. "We've had this incident which has brought everything to a head.
"During the Ashes there wasn't a lot said about our culture and looking back it's just a few little things we can tweak and do a little bit better as a team. If we do that then I think the Australian public will jump back on board pretty quickly. That's one of our main aims for this coming summer.
"I wouldn't say it's been blown out of proportion. It was certainly bigger than we anticipated. Even in South Africa, until we got back, guys probably didn't realise the magnitude of it.
"The public and sponsors have the right to say and do what they like when something like that happens. We have to cop on the chin and rebuild the trust."