Australian captain Tim Paine has snapped back at Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar, after the legendary former batsman called for the keeper to be stripped of the captaincy.
Gavaskar was unimpressed by Paine’s controversial attempts to get under the skin of Indian batsman on the final day of the third Test, with the Aussie star eventually losing his cool somewhat and labelling Ashwin a ‘d***head’.
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Those comments, combined with an unusually poor effort with the gloves on the crucial final day, prompted Gavaskar to say Paine was “unbefitting of a national team captain”.
After fronting media the day after the drawn third Test to apologise for his day five tactics, Paine again addressed the issue when asked about it again in Brisbane.
“I’m not going into it, getting into a back and forth with Sunny Gavaskar,” Paine said.
"Not going to go back & forth with Sunny Gavaskar, don't think I'm going to win"
Watch: #TimPaine responds to #SunilGavaskar's criticism of the Australian captain after the Sydney Test#AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/YBiwre0kb8
— Cricbuzz (@cricbuzz) January 14, 2021
“I don’t think I’m going to win that.
“Look, he’s entitled to his opinion. It doesn’t affect us one iota.
“(If) anything it’s adding to the Test match, which is great. So Sunny can keep saying what he wants to say but at the end of the day it’s got absolutely nothing to do with him.”
Tim Paine owns up to Australian team’s struggles
Paine has blamed himself for Mitchell Starc's drop in pace and effectiveness at the SCG.
Starc recorded match figures of 1-127 during the third Test, struggling to create chances apart from the edge that Paine put down late on day five.
Australia have named an unchanged attack for the series decider against India that begins in Brisbane on Friday.
Paine argued his own tetchiness and underwhelming leadership affected Starc in Sydney, expressing confidence the left-armer would be back to his best at the Gabba.
"My role is to keep him nice and calm, keep him really clear on what I and we expect of him," Paine said.
"When you give him really simple, clear instructions and keep him on an even keel - he normally bowls the house down.
"My mood around day five, potentially he was one I affected and (that) was the reason why he wasn't at his best.
"It's about me getting back to basics. Keeping him nice and relaxed, clear on what we want him to do - and when we do that he more often than not delivers."
Starc claimed eight wickets in the opening half of the four-Test series but failed to conjure a single wicket in the fourth innings at the SCG.
"We know how good he is. We know on his day he can rip a Test match apart," Paine said.
"But that's not going to happen for him every day."
Paine apologised earlier this week for losing his cool at the SCG, where India batted for 131 overs in the final innings of the Test to salvage a draw.
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