Australia captain Tim Paine said he let the "pressure of the game" get to him after being roundly criticised for his sledging of Indian rival Ravichandran Ashwin during the drawn third Test at the SCG.
The conduct of Australia's wicketkeeper was slammed after Paine capped a dirty day by dropping a late catch, following a slanging match with India spinner Ashwin.
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Paine was fined 15 per cent of his match fee after being found guilty of dissent on day three of the third Test, when he appealed for some "f***ing consistency" in a rant directed at on-field umpire Paul Wilson.
However, it was his verbal stoush with Ashwin that left many commentators and viewers outraged.
Stump microphones picked up some barbs that Australia's skipper, who helped turn around the team's image after the Cape Town cheating scandal, directed at India veteran Ashwin during the 122nd over of his stoic batting display on the final day.
Paine claimed "at least my teammates like me, dickhead" during the spat, also mocking Ashwin by asking "how many IPL teams wanted you, when you asked every single one of them to have you?".
Paine dropped a catch during the following over, while Ashwin dragged his side to a draw despite a sore back.
The Aussie skipper admitted that he ended up "looking like a fool" for dropping the catch after sledging Ashwin, and said he was sorry for the verbal antics that have been condemned across the cricket world.
“I want to apologise for the way I went about things yesterday. I’m someone who prides themselves on the way I lead this team and yesterday was a poor reflection of the team,” Paine said.
“I let the pressure of the game get to me. It affected my mood and my performance.
“I’ve had a really poor game as a leader … yesterday I fell short of my expectations and our team’s standards. I’m human. I want to apologise for the mistakes I made yesterday.
“It’s certainly not a reflection of the way I want to lead this team. We’ve set high standards over the last few months and … I’m bitterly disappointed.
“My mood throughout the whole Test match was a bit off. The way I spoke to the umpires was unacceptable.
“I’ve got to cop that on the chin. It’s certainly not a reflection of how I want to do it going forward.
“I fell short of my own standards and expectations. I’m bitterly disappointed with that.”
— Raj Mohan (@Non_rights) January 12, 2021
Cricket world slams Paine antics
Indian great Sunil Gavaskar was Amon those outraged by Paine's antics on day five, labelling them "ridiculous" and "unnecessary" during his commentary on Channel Seven.
On Tuesday, Gavaskar went one step further in declaring that Paine's days as Aussie skipper were "numbered".
"It was unbefitting of a captain of a national team to be talking about something other than cricket," he said.
"You want to have a go at the opposition, you talk about their cricket.
"But when you talk about something else, it shows your frustration. It shows you are not able to bear the fact that the opposition is putting up a fight.
"The Indians had the last laugh. R Ashwin had the last laugh.
"I am not an Australian selector but his days as captain are numbered."
English sports journalist Paul Newman tweeted on day five: “Tim Paine has been a massive disappointment as Australia captain. Not only classless but not very good either.”
Former Indian batsman Aakash Chopra was also scathing of his assessment of the Australian captain.
“Paine, if you don’t stop talking … batsman isn’t going to bat. Simple. Let your gloves do the talking,” he tweeted.
“You’re considered to be the good boy of Australian cricket … live up to the reputation. At least.
“Let your gloves do the talking. Period.”
India's stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane wasn't as worried, noting such chatter is to be expected in Test cricket.
"As long as it stays on the field," Rahane said, praising the way Ashwin handled the pressure.
Ashwin successfully salvaged a draw despite the fact he was batting in what wife Prithi termed "unbelievable pain" because of a back injury.
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