Proteas

Aussie revolution has an unlikely leader

2018-03-31 13:37
Tim Paine (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Australia are being outplayed in the fourth and final Test against the Proteas at the Wanderers, but there is a bigger picture at play. 

The series is technically still alive, with the Proteas 2-1 ahead, but the depleted Australians look they have one foot on the plan back home already. 

Who could blame them? 

It has been a week from hell that has seen their captain and one of their biggest superstars banned for a year after admitting their role in the ball-tampering incident to have emerged during the Newlands Test. 

Their coach has also announced that he will be standing down at the end of the series and, most importantly, they have lost the respect of their own supporters in Australia. 

It has been the darkest of times for Australian cricket, and it has forced them into a re-think in terms of how they play their cricket. 

This, it seems, could be the death of the in-your-face, win at all costs Australian approach that has been a hallmark of their culture for most of the modern era. 

For the moment, Tim Paine has been tasked with leading the revolution and he started by orchestrating team handshakes before the start of play on Friday. 

Paine is not sure of what Australian cricket's long-term plan is for him, but he says he will do whatever he can to turn the image of Australian cricket around. 

"We’re taking it one day at a time and slowly trying to win back the respect of the cricket world, the fans and the Australian public. We know we’ve got a long way to go," he said after day one.

"We still want to keep a really competitive brand of cricket, but we’ve got to be more respectful of our opposition and the game of cricket.

"At times we’ve tended to push the boundaries as far as we possibly could, and we’ve seen that people don’t like that. It’s time for us to change."

There was almost a sense of relief that came from Paine when talking about the decision to change the team's culture.

"We’re happy to do that," he said.

"I think it actually suits this group of players. We’re a different group of players than what Australia have had for a long time. There are not too many guys that like to verbalise and have that hard-nosed Australian approach.

"We’re about creating a new environment where guys can come in and play cricket and just be themselves. I think if we can achieve that we’ll have better results as well."

 

Read more on:    proteas  |  tim paine  |  johannesburg  |  cricket
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