Former Australian captain Michael Clarke has hit out at an admission by national selector Trevor Hohns that Tim Paine’s leadership wasn’t discussed following the series loss to India.
Paine’s captaincy has been questioned in the wake of the 2-1 defeat, notably after the side failed to bowl India out on day five in both Sydney and Brisbane. Paine’s wicketkeeping has also been scrutinised after he dropped three chances at the SCG.
The skipper admitted he didn’t have the best summer with the gloves, but it was his captaincy that raised eyebrows around the country.
Former captain Mark Taylor, while supporting Paine’s retention as skipper, believes he needs to be more flexible in the field, rather than sticking rigidly to the pre-prepared plan.
Taylor noted that on the final day in Brisbane, with Australia’s frontline bowlers struggling to take wickets, Cameron Green bowled only three overs and Marnus Labuschagne just one.
Taylor, who was renowned for his ability to conjure a wicket from part-time bowlers like Michael Bevan, would have liked to see Labuschagne, in particular, given more overs, a point backed up by Ian Chappell.
But when the squad for the upcoming series against South Africa was unveiled yesterday, Hohns went into bat for Paine.
Tim’s leadership in our mind was never in question,” Hohns said.
“We did not spend a minute on Tim’s leadership during our selection meeting.
“And some of the criticism he’s had to endure, in our view, has been pretty wide of the mark.
“And in particular, some of it’s been in poor taste from overseas people.
Clarke, who captained Australia in 47 Test matches, asked why Paine’s performance wasn’t at least looked at.
“So many past players, so many people, the fans of the game, have questioned Painey’s tactics throughout the series. So, you haven’t questioned his captaincy and you haven’t added anyone, whether it is a player or support staff member to the squad to help him with his tactics,” Clarke said on Sky Sports Radio.
“How does he get better? How does he go to South Africa to improve? It seems like that is an area that he needs help, whether it is extra leadership on the field or extra people around him to help him get better. If you keep doing the same thing you will keep getting the same results.
“Is Trevor Hohns saying they thought the tactics were fine and we’ll be right and do the same thing in South Africa but get a different result? If that is the case, I said they missed a few tricks throughout the summer.”
Clarke believes there’s nothing wrong with retaining Paine as captain, but noted he needs to improve.
“There’s nothing wrong with sticking with Painey. I like him, that’s great, stick with your captain if you think he is the right man for the job,” Clarke said.
“Don’t say nothing’s wrong there. Tactically he missed a few tricks and his keeping was nowhere near as good as what I’ve seen from Painey.
“Give him some help. Allow him to get better in the areas he needs to get better.”
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