Australia coach Justin Langer praised test captain Tim Paine as he downplayed Steve Smith’s speech, which returned to the top after the end of his leadership ban imposed by Cricket Australia.
Paine has had some hard times when she was in charge. In his first full series in that role, Australia lost 1-0 to Pakistan in two tests in the United Arab Emirates and later suffered the setback of being the country’s first captain to lose a series at home to India.
"I spoke to Broady about the one he bowled me at Lord's and he said to me it's probably one of the best balls he's ever bowled."— ICC (@ICC) October 13, 2019
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But since then things have started to look for him. Australia defeated Sri Lanka 2-0 at home, becoming the first Australian side to retain their fate in England since 2001, thanks to a fierce 2-2 draw. Langer praised the captain but acknowledged that the 35-year-old has room for improvement.
Langer even pointed out that the Tasmania goalkeeper’s bat had been given the right to determine how long he wanted to stay in his current role, and that the end of Smith’s leadership ban he had received for his involvement in the ball scandal in March 2020 will have no impact on Pine’s place in the team.
“Tim Paine is doing a great job right now, he was excellent in his captaincy,” Langer told ABC Grandstand. “No matter how long he wants to keep playing, that’s another thing, I’m sure how all those things will work out if the timing is right.
“The beauty of Tim Paine is that he is getting better and better, even at his age, with his youthful enthusiasm, he has many areas to improve and that is encouraging for him and for us, and he is doing a great job right now. “
Langer also wondered if it would be a wise move to turn Smith over to the captain when Paine stepped down. While Smith is currently the best test batsman in the world, he is also a star in the Limited Overs cast for Australia.
He played a prominent role in Australia during the extended English summer, which included the men’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, followed by the ashes. At the end of the tests, in which he completed 774 races with an amazing average of 110.57, Smith admitted to feeling exhausted. Langer is worried that the additional captain pressure could continue to burden Smith.
“We have to find out what’s best, I mean, you’ve seen how exhausted he was [at the end of the ashes] from the effort he’s made, whether he wants the captain’s burden, must be something, that we work out over time. “