Former Australia cricket captain Tim Paine has hit out at comments from legendary former opener Matthew Hayden about why he would never coach the national side. Hayden raised eyebrows earlier this week after slamming Cricket Australia's treatment of former teammate and national coach Justin Langer, who famously left his role after helping to guide Australia to a T20 World Cup title and Ashes series victory.
Hayden also criticised the fact there were no greats of Australian cricket currently involved with the national set-up, in another sign of the growing divide between the current generation of players and former stars of the sport. During Langer's tenure as coach the Aussies had fellow legends Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh acting in advisory roles, while the likes of Greg Chappell, Allan Border, Mark Waugh and Merv Hughes have been among the more high-profile Australian selectors.
“What’s quite interesting is that there’s not a former great that is actually at the helm of Australian cricket. Not one,” Hayden told Wisden Cricket Monthly. "Not as a chairman of selectors, not as a coach, not as a board director. At no layer is there leadership that’s got a former great player of Australian cricket operating within that team unit. That, to me, is surprising considering we’ve just come out of three great eras or decades of Australian cricket.”
Paine has since taken aim at Hayden over the comments after suggesting they are disrespectful to the current men occupying the roles the Test legend mentioned. A clearly annoyed Paine questioned Hayden's criticism over the lack of Aussie 'greats' involved with the national side and challenged the former opener on how that is even defined.
"He was going (on about cricketing greats) all day, but one: What's a great player? Paine asked on SEN. "(Australia's chief selector) George Bailey played cricket for Australia and had a 20-year career, (Australia coach) Andrew McDonald played Test cricket for Australia and had a 20-year career, (Aussie batting coach) Michael Di Venuto played for Australia and had a 25-year career.
"I would consider them great players, they are not great Test players, but they've been involved in cricket for a very long time, and they know what they're doing. That's the first thing."
Tim Paine says 'greats' often don't make good coaches
The former Aussie skipper was also at pains to remind Hayden that often some of the greatest players don't make the best coaches or administrators. "Secondly... being a great player in any sport is not a rite of passage to being a great coach, a great administrator or a great selector," Paine added.
"What you want is the best people in those positions, whether they've played 100 Tests or zero Tests. You give me a footy coach, apart from back in the day with Leigh Matthews and Ron Barassi, back then it happened a bit more, but coaching has evolved a hell of a lot from those days.
"It's a different kettle of fish and more often than not, the great players don't have the empathy, the compassion... they're a bit different most of the time. That's why these types of players end up, I think being better coaches and better selectors."
Paine's comments come after Hayden revealed he would never consider a head coaching role for Australia, due to way Langer was effectively pushed out after only being offered a six-month contract by CA. Langer's messy exit came after months of uncertainty around his position and reports that large swathes of the playing group were unhappy with his methods and hard-nosed approach.
“I wouldn’t (coach Australia), no,” Hayden said when asked if he would ever consider coaching Australia. “After Justin (Langer) and his treatment, I wouldn’t have any part of trying to coach Australia because I just don’t feel that’s something I would enjoy.
“I really love Australian cricket and I really love broadcasting on the current cricket team. I think they’re a magnificent team but in terms of an investment, no, it’s not something that I’d even consider.”
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