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‘Paine’ful apologies: Aussie skipper says leadership wasn’t good, ended up looking like fool

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Sydney:  Australian captain Tim Paine on Tuesday apologised for his on-field behaviour during the drawn third Test against India here, saying that his leadership wasn’t good enough and he ended up “looking like a fool” by sledging Ravichandran Ashwin.

Paine has come under fire for a verbal duel with Ashwin when the Indian held vigil with an injured Hanuma Vihari to eke out a draw for his team, which was chasing a mammoth 407 for a win. Paine said he was “distracted, agitated and a bit grumpy at times” during the game.

“I spoke to him (Ashwin) really quickly after the game yesterday, as I said to him, look I ended up looking a fool, didn’t I? You open your mouth and then you drop a catch and had a bit of laugh about that,” he said at a virtual press conference, which he wasn’t even scheduled to attend.

He said he decided to speak to the media to “address some things” after having defended his behaviour in the post-match presser on Monday.

“…I do want to apologise for the way I went about things yesterday on someone who prides himself on the way I lead this team and yesterday was a poor reflection of that,” Paine said.

The 36-year-old wicket-keeper dropped three catches during the match, including of Vihari after the confrontation with Ashwin. Paine conceded that it was the pressure of the game that got to him and that affected his mood.

“My leadership wasn’t good enough, I let the pressure of the game, I suppose get to me and it sort of affected my mood and then from there affected my performance,” he elaborated.

“So, yesterday when I came off the ground, my reflection was purely on my wicket-keeping…I think I said to my players, I had a really poor game as a leader, not so much as a captain, but certainly as a leader.

“…yesterday I fell short of my expectations and our team’s standard,” he added.

According to Paine, his behaviour on Monday wasn’t a reflection of the way he wants to lead the Australian team.

“So, I want to apologise for the mistakes that I have made yesterday. Certainly, as I said, not a reflection of the way I want to lead this team.

“We have set really high standards over the last 18 months and yesterday was certainly a bit of blip on the radar and something I felt I needed to come out and address,” he asserted.

He was on Sunday fined 15 per cent of his match fee for showing dissent to umpire. Paine apologised for his behaviour with the umpires as well.

“Bitterly disappointed with the way I went about it, I felt that my mood throughout probably the whole Test match was probably a little-bit off. The way I spoke to the umpires early on day 2 was also unacceptable.

“So like I said yesterday I want to take that on the chin, it is not the way I want to lead this Australian team, it is certainly not a reflection of how I want to do it going forward,” he added.

Paine also admitted that on Monday he fell short of his own standards and expectations in terms of playing the game by certain ethics.

“I always talk to our players about playing this game on skill and not on emotion and yesterday as I said I fell short of my own standards, and own expectations.

“…but at the same time, bit of self-reflection, being able to learn from it, being able to move on after the (Sydney) Test was important.

“I again apologise to our fans and people who heard some of the things I said yesterday, it wasn’t good enough particularly from the leader of this team,said Paine, who used an abusive word to unsettle Ashwin during their chatter.

He, however, maintained that the relationship between the two teams remains friendly.

“…there is a healthy respect, it is very competitive, but it is all said and done. The way the spirit of this series is being played 99 per cent of the time it’s been excellent. Yes, I had a quick chat with him after the game and everything was fine,” he elaborated.

Paine attributed his poor show behind the stumps to his bad mood.

“…for me it was all around my mood, being a little bit tensed and not being focussed on my number one job,” he said.

Sorry Siraj and Indian team, racism not acceptable: Warner

Sydney:  Australian batting star David Warner on Tuesday condemned the racist slurs hurled at Indian players, particularly pacer Mohammed Siraj, during the third Test here and said such behaviour by the spectators was not acceptable.

Siraj, on his maiden tour of Australia, and senior pacer Jasprit Bumrah were abused for two consecutive days by the crowd.

Play was, in fact, halted on the fourth day for a few minutes after the Indian team complained to the umpires, which led to the expulsion of six spectators from the stands and an unreserved apology from Cricket Australia.

“I’d also like to say sorry to @mohammedsirajofficial and the Indian team as racism, and abuse is not in any way acceptable or tolerated anywhere at any time, and I would expect better from our home crowd,” Warner said in an instagram post.

The Australian players had supported their Indian counterparts after the incidents with skipper Tim Paine even joining the Indian team huddle after Siraj’s complaints on the fourth day of the drawn match.

India skipper Ajinkya Rahane said the abuse was hurtful.

About the match, Warner said it was great to be back after an injury kept him out of the first two games.

“It was great to be back out on the park again this week. Was not the ideal result for us but this is what Test cricket is all about. 5 days of tough cricket and well done to our guys for working as hard as we could…

“…congrats to India in the way they fought hard for the draw, and that’s why we love this game, it’s not easy. Move onto Brisbane now for the decider and what a place the Gabba is to play at,” he said.

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