'Never up to it': 'Knives out' as cricket world turns on Tim Paine

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Nathan Lyon, Tim Paine and Pat Cummins, pictured here during the fourth Test against India.
Nathan Lyon, Tim Paine and Pat Cummins in action for Australia in the fourth Test against India. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Ashes rival Kevin Pietersen believes Tim Paine has “never been up to” the job of captaining Australia and won’t be in the role for much longer.

Paine’s position in the Australian Test side, as well as his captaincy, are under much scrutiny following his side’s shock 2-1 series loss to an injury-ravaged Indian side.

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Many are calling for Paine’s head as the fallout from the embarrassing defeat continues.

According to Pietersen, Paine isn’t even good enough to be in the Test side let alone the captain.

“Australians don’t like to lose and the knives will be out for a few members of that team after this defeat,” Pietersen told Betway on Wednesday.

“I believe that Cricket Australia will soon be looking for a new captain – Paine has never, ever been up to it.

“He got chucked into that position when Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft got caught up in the sandpaper controversy, but from my perspective, having played against him and watched him, he’s not an Australia captain.

“He’s just not a good enough player, apart from anything else. I would never have made him captain in the first place, and he’s probably never going to lead them into another Test match.”

Paine was thrust into the captaincy position when then-captain Smith and vice-captain Warner were banned for their roles in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal.

Warner is banned from holding any leadership position within the national team ever again, while Smith’s two-year captaincy ban has since expired.

Ricky Ponting’s endorsement for Tim Paine

While many have been calling for Smith to be handed the captaincy once again, Aussie legend Ricky Ponting believes Paine is still the man for the job.

The former Test captain has called on Cricket Australia to publicly endorse Paine and put the speculation to bed.

“I think he’ll be captain there and I think he’ll be captain next summer in the Ashes as well,” Ponting told Channel 7 about Australia’s upcoming tour of South Africa.

“One way or the other they absolutely should do that. There is no reason why they should need to prolong it.”

Tim Paine and Steve Smith, pictured here during the third Test between Australia and India.
Tim Paine and Steve Smith during the third Test between Australia and India. (Photo by Jason McCawley - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

According to veteran cricket writer Robert Craddock, senior figures within Cricket Australia are “perpetually concerned” about the lack of options to replace Paine as captain.

One option is current vice-captain Pat Cummins, however there are fears about placing extra pressure on the bowling spearhead.

“Pat Cummins will obviously come into the thinking because he’s vice-captain, but the worry will be you’ll end up with a similar problem the next time Australia are in day five [of a Test match],” Mark Taylor told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Maybe I’m selling Pat Cummins a bit short, but it’s a lot to do to be the No. 1 strike bowler or the keeper, and be the captain on day five in Sydney and day five at the Gabba.

“One of the problems that Tim was always going to have [as captain] was being a keeper.”

Things got ugly for Paine after India’s stunning win at the Gabba sealed the 2-1 series victory - Australia’s first loss at the ground in 32 years.

Paine was loudly booed by fans at the Gabba during the post-match ceremony, including by a number of Aussies in attendance.

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