'The series has been unusually tame', says Tim Paine
Australian captain Tim Paine has admitted that the nature of conversations in the ongoing Test series between Australia and India has been "unusually" friendly so far. However, he expects the on-field drama and banter to escalate in the remainder of series. His statement comes hours before the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Here is more on the same.
Paine hinted at the lack of banters and on-field duels in the series. "It's been unusually tame, the start of this series and I think it's because both teams are just happy to be back playing Test cricket, there's been such a big break and there's a lot of respect between the two teams no doubt about that," he stated.
After the departure of Virat Kohli from the Australian tour, stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane has instilled self-belief in the team. He helped India win the Boxing Day Test, after a humiliating defeat in the series opener. So far, Rahane has been rather composed as compared to Kohli, who is known for his aggression. This has resulted in less heated exchanges so far.
Amid the long break following the MCG Test, several controversies have emanated. The alleged breach of protocols by five Indian players has been a major bone of contention of late. Notably, the cricketers were put into isolation by CA after they were seen in a Melbourne restaurant. It was also reported that India are reluctant to travel to Brisbane for the final Test.
Speaking on the same, Paine said, "It's boiling away, there's some stuff starting to happen. I think this Test is going to be fascinating not just from a cricket point of view but I think there's a bit of tension starting to boil under the surface with unnamed sources coming out from their camp saying where they want to play the fourth Test."
Although reports emerged regarding India's dissension over playing the fourth Test in Brisbane, Cricket Australia's interim CEO, Nick Hockley, has dismissed those, citing there has been no official communication from the BCCI. "We're going to focus on that this week then whatever happens never week, happens. and we'll adapt to it. but we're not too fussed," Paine reflected on the issue.
Presently, the Border-Gavaskar series is poised at 1-1. The impending Test at the SCG will certainly be a series-deciding game. Not only that, the two teams will also have one eye on the ICC World Test Championship table. Notably, Team India has already announced the playing XI, handing a debut to Navdeep Saini. Senior batsman Rohit Sharma also returns to the XI.