Australian skipper, Tim Paine clarified that they didn’t want to unnecessarily provoke the Indian skipper, Virat Kohli during the Test series in 2018-19. His comments came after his predecessor Michael Clarke’s claims of players being scared to sledge the Indian skipper in order to protect their IPL deals. Paine rubbished Clarke’s claims that his team has any fear from Kohli in order to land fat deals with IPL franchises, calling it a tactical decision not to engage Virat into verbal banter but there was no other motivation.
Clarifying the same to ESPNCricinfo, Paine said, “I certainly didn’t notice too many people being that nice to Virat or not trying to get him out or anything like that. I thought everyone who had the ball in their hand or when we were batting was trying their absolute best to win the game for Australia. I’m not sure who was going easy on him; we certainly had a thing where we didn’t want to provoke any fight with him because we think that’s when he plays at his best.”
India is scheduled to tour Australia from October 2020 to January 2021 to play four-match Test series, three ODIs and as many T20Is.
In November 2018, Clarke had slammed attempts to improve Australian cricket’s image in the wake of an infamous 2018 ball-tampering scandal, saying the national team “won’t win a game” by “worrying about being liked”. Paine said verbal valleys won’t win matches unless one puts up the effort on the field.
Talking about the same, Paine said, “What you say on the field is irrelevant 99% of the time. Sometimes you can get a little inside someone’s head or something like that, but if you’re not batting well and not bowling well, all the talk in the world doesn’t mean anything. “
He further added, “There’s no doubt our first focus is on executing our skill and being as good as we can possibly be in that area and then sometimes things happen on a cricket field. As we’ve seen the last 12 or 18 months, we still do that, we still stick up for each other, we still fight as hard as any Australian team. I’ve been really proud of the way we’ve played out cricket.”