Greg Chappell has thrown his support behind Tim Paine, with the Test legend claiming now is not the time to be replacing Australia's captain.
Paine's captaincy and wicketkeeping have been thrown into the spotlight following last week's shock 2-1 series loss to India, after two poor day-five performances.
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The 36-year-old is almost certain to lead Australia to South Africa next month if the tour goes ahead, but it has not stopped questions being asked externally.
Indian cricket great Sunil Gavaskar was among the most vocal critics of Paine, whose on-field antics and tactics were widely questioned during the recent four-Test series.
Gavaskar slammed Paine for calling Ravichandran Ashwin a "dickhead" during an ugly sledge episode in the third Test that the skipper apologised for.
The India great also claimed that as a captain, Paine's tactical deficiencies were exposed during the series, insisting that it should be his last as skipper.
Aussie greats Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist also felt Paine had not enhanced his captaincy or keeping reputation during the series.
Warne was critical of Paine’s captaincy in Sydney, where Australia had around 130 overs to bowl India out, and in Brisbane where he feels the skipper also missed the mark.
"I think at times their tactics haven’t been good enough, and I suppose that’s got to come down to Tim Paine as captain," Warne said on Fox Sports.
"It’s not just Tim Paine’s fault, the bowlers are allowed to say ‘Tim I want to do this’, so it’s a combination between the bowlers and the captain. But at the end of the day, you are captain, you have to take responsibility. He’ll be disappointed."
Paine also suffered the ignominy of being booed during his speech after the fourth and final Test at the Gabba.
"I think India have outplayed us for the majority of the series and fully deserve the win."
Tim Paine reflects on a series defeat against India... pic.twitter.com/ALryl5kfS1
— Cricket on BT Sport (@btsportcricket) January 19, 2021
Despite the negativity around Paine's leadership during the India series, however, Chappell says axing him as captain is not the answer.
Chappell was one of Australia's selectors at the time Paine made the most unlikely of rises to captaincy following the ball-tampering scandal.
And while Paine put down three crucial chances in Sydney and another late one in Brisbane, the former Test captain says Australia must stand by their man.
"This is not the time to jettison Tim Paine," Chappell, who retired as a selector in 2019, told AAP.
"He's still the best keeper in the country and he's still averaged 40 in the Test series.
"Okay, he didn't have great games in the last two Test matches behind the stumps.
"But you can't overestimate how hard four Test matches in a row are, particularly for fast bowlers, and especially for a wicketkeeper-captain.
"It's an enormous workload and he probably suffered a little bit from the fact that he was pretty knackered by the end."
Chappell says batting a bigger concern for Aussies
Despite regular questions over his batting, Paine's average of 32.63 remains the third highest of all Australian wicketkeepers.
Under his leadership Australia have retained the Ashes and won 11 of 23 matches, but have now dropped two home series to India.
Bigger questions remain over who could replace him, given Pat Cummins is the front-runner but no bowler has been the fulltime skipper since Richie Benaud in 1964.
Chappell meanwhile finds it harder to come up with a solution for the Test team's middle order.
While he is willing to forgive a tired bowling attack for failing to run through India in Sydney or Brisbane, he believes questions still revolve around the batsmen.
Matthew Wade has failed to reach 50 in his past 14 innings, while the BBL through the middle of the summer means no batsmen have been able to press their claims.
"I don't think there are many (solutions), to be honest," Chappell, who was on Tuesday appointed as an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia, said.
"They're going to have to do something but it's going to be a bit of guesswork involved.
"I'm certainly not critical of the bowlers, I'm not overly critical of Tim. I think our batting certainly let us down."
with Yahoo Sport Australia
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