Having taken over the team’s captaincy during turbulent time of ball-tampering scandal, Tim Paine has led Australia admirably well and coach Justin Langer has backed him to continue into the role at least till ICC World Test Championship ends in June 2021. Also Read - Nathan Lyon Backs Steve Smith to Take Over Australian Team Captaincy Duty Again
Paine has been impressive both as captain and as the wicketkeeper but his batting has been a big area of concern. He has managed two half-centuries in his last 16 Tests with the second coming in the recent win over New Zealand in Melbourne. Also Read - Pat Cummins Right Guy to be Australia's Next Captain Across Formats: Michael Clarke
However his latest fifty was vital in Australia posting an imposing total against New Zealand that set up a big win. Apart from that he effected eight dismissals across the two innings and Also Read - Will Steve Smith Captain Australia Again After Ball-Tampering Scandal?
“Truthfully, I can’t see one reason why he wouldn’t [continue with Paine as captain],” Langer said. “His last game – you judge on his last performance – he was probably pushing to be Player of the Match. He had eight dismissals, 70-odd with the bat, and the way he played his innings was what was most exciting. The way he leads the group. I just literally can’t think of one reason at the moment – he’s so fit – as to why he wouldn’t keep playing for as long as he wants to or needs to.”
Out of his 18 Tests as captain Paine has secured wins in 9. “The truth is there’s been conjecture from outside, there’s never been one millisecond of conjecture from within our team,” Langer said. “I said at the start of the summer, he’s almost our most important player, because he’s a very good leader, his captaincy is excellent, he’s the best wicket-keeper in the world, he’s as fit as anyone in the group.”
He added, “We knew that if he believed he could bat as well as we think he can, then you’ll see results like we did in the last Test and at times during the Ashes. I hope he plays for as long as he possibly can because his leadership has been brilliant, working with the leadership group, I love working with him.”