Prithi Narayanan, the wife of Indian cricketer Ravi Ashwin, has taken aim at Australian captain Tim Paine after his outburst at the visiting star.
A frustrated Tim Paine got stuck into Ashwin on the decisive day five of the New Year’s Test at the SCG, overheard on the stump mic calling him a ‘d***head’ and suggesting he had no friends after Ashwin said a potential series in India would be Paine’s last as captain.
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“Maybe, are you a selector here as well? At least my teammates like me, d***head. I’ve got a lot more Indian friends than you do. Even your teammates think you’re a goose. Don’t they. Every one,” Paine said.
The Australian captain’s comments sparked a wave of criticism, with Paine fronting media the day after the Test match was drawn to apologise for allowing his frustration to get the better of him.
"I'm someone who prides themselves on the way I lead this team and yesterday was a poor reflection," Paine told reporters.
"My leadership wasn't good enough, I let the pressure of the game get to me.”
In a column Narayanan penned for The Indian Times, she described what was going through her head when the broadcast revealed what the stump mic had been picking up.
Initially pleased to hear Ashwin’s voice talking to teammate Hanuma Vihari, Narayanan said she was worried Ashwin would lose focus as the tension rose.
“I heard (Ashwin) tell Hanuma, “Pathu Pathu ball, adulaaam” (We will play 10 balls each). It felt good to hear his voice,” Narayanan wrote.
“The same stump microphone would later bring up other voices, which weren’t that good!
“When Tim Paine started talking, my worry wasn’t what he was saying but that Ashwin was talking back. Something he hadn’t done until then.
“Was he losing focus or is the back pain irritating him that he is reacting? What if something happens now? Don’t do it, Ash.”
Tim Paine focusing on Gabba Test
Paine spoke to Ashwin after play on day five, telling him "I ended up looking the fool, didn't I?".
"You open your mouth and then you drop a catch. We had a bit of a laugh about that," he said.
There were fewer laughs during Paine's debrief with coaching staff Justin Langer, Andrew McDonald and Matthew Mott.
"I raised it with him (Langer on Monday night)," Paine said.
"My mood throughout the whole Test match was probably a little bit off.
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) January 13, 2021
"I'm normally a pretty relaxed person.
"When we were batting in this Test, I was on edge.
"I was wandering around the change rooms, couldn't sit still, couldn't watch and I think that added to the tension.
"I pride myself on, if anything, taking the tension out of our change room."
Paine, who has helped turn around the Australian Test team's image after the Cape Town cheating scandal, is confident the SCG would be a "blip on the radar" rather than a sign of things to come at the Gabba.
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